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  • Writer's pictureDr Hugh Willbourn

#37 In the Country of the Blind the One-eyed Man is weeping...

I am sitting on the terrace of a café by the river. Around me the well-to-do are chatting over their coffee and croissants. A young man is pitching his production service for online videos. Older people are talking about property.

I desist from clicking through news of institutional idiocy and raise my eyes to watch the sun sparkle off the water through the trees. A rotating sprayhead waters the lawn and I hear the rhythmic rumbling of a nearby construction site. Here we are, carried onward by life in all its astonishing beauty.

We have suffered three years of fear, fraud and arrogance but the collective is keen to reframe our compliance. Let us adjust ourselves. It is normal to be fearful. We must Stay Alert. We must be Better Prepared. You Can’t be Too Careful.

For some it is easy to move on to the novel opportunities of our brave new world. For others not so much: the bereaved, the bankrupted, those cheated of their education and those who lost their frail mental health and sit indoors, alone, rocking …

Some elderly and sick people died of covid, other people died because they were denied early treatment, others were ventilated to death. Indeed some mistakes were made and lives were lost. It is tragic.

Please do not draw attention to certain embarrassing lapses of judgement. We all make mistakes, don’t we, and we all agree that it is kinder, overall, not to keep reminding each other, isn’t it?

Please stop talking about those injuries, that poor girl, that pilot who just died, that Lisa, that Damar, that what-was-his-name… just stop it. Find me any plausible reason why young athletes have heart attacks, but not That One. Now, please!

This is the whispering I seem to hear beneath the amiable conversations around me on this elegant terrace.

Let us watch the river flow by, the barges, the pleasure boats, the waterbus heading downtown. Let us pay attention to mellifluous Bach in the background.


I’ve been away writing a book. It took me nine months.

It is a lovely book. There is not a word about vaccines or covid or ventilation. No, no, none of that at all.

It is a kindly book. It has philosophy for non-philosophers, hypnosis for non-hypnotists, insights for the unsettled and stories for hungry hearts. It is a book for everyone, for believers and non-believers in … whatever.

It is a readable route to better understanding.

The last three years were not as abnormal as we might wish to believe. We have always lived in many different worlds. Perhaps today they are a little more divergent, but there is still a way to live well. It is helpful to see that we are both very similar to and very distant from our fellow humans.

What use is this book?

It will be useful in the face of the coming turbulence. Many people are going to get very angry indeed during the next year.

They will have plenty to fuel their rage.

We will suffer economic hardship.

We will discover more financial fraud and more nonsense embedded in our fallen institutions. We will be afflicted with desperate, destructive, authoritarian interventions.

We will meet Kubler-Ross’s famous five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance - but we will not meet them in a nice, tidy sequence. They will be raging around us all at once in loud and rancorous conflict.

It will be terrifying to see so clearly the grip, the penetration and the vast power of delusions.

It will be good to know how to duck under those waves. It will be good to recognise our real friends. They are our strength and our blessings.

It is clear that many people really do believe that divergent thinking is dangerous misinformation. How do they do that? Especially scientists and doctors, people trained in rational analysis, how do they do that? How do they maintain a world view so markedly adrift from reality? Could I be one of those people trapped in delusion?

The answer is not so simple that I can tell you in a paragraph. But in reading my book you will piece together the story. You will see how it is done.

I hope, as ever, that I am wrong about the rough stuff and right about the blessings.

I wish you the very best for 2023. Please look out for my book in February. It will have 'Stories' in the title...

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