The Pen and the Sword

I keep thinking of the image of firefighters standing between riot police and protesters in Catalonia that I shared yesterday. Such a powerful image of two sets of ideas coming together in violent confrontation. Only one side, the state, has the “right” to use force.

But we know that in the long run, however much misery it may cause, force is puny in the face of ideas. Using force is an admission of defeat. The state is a fragile concept and I always think how frightened of challenging ideas those who hide behind its force are.

Ideas are what shape our world. Good ones and bad ones, misguided ones and brilliant ones. We all have the ability to share ideas and change our world. Arguably more of us are sharing more of our thoughts and ideas in writing than ever before. Online tools allow us to connect our responses to the world around us and to work things out faster and more powerfully than we are used to. We are still just tinkering with this “joined up writing”.

Ultimately the pen is still mightier than the sword. Our new tools make our ideas even more powerful than before. We should wield that power more thoughtfully.