After a conference about food security that I attended recently, some of the audience gathered in the hallway where drinks and small bites were served, allowing a continued discussion, but also the so often offered and widely spread opportunity to network. Small talks were usual with people one is not close. Business cards changed the owner with or without expectation to be used. Old acquaintances met, glasses of drinks held in one hand and helping with the snacks with the other hand.
It was in this fuzzy and noisy environment where I heard several times the praises to the main speaker of the conference. Even amongst my close working colleagues, this view was largely shared. “He was excellent – so strategic and political” said one, while the others nodded and confirmed the appreciation. First I was surprised about the positive spirit, but increasingly I was shocked. Was I the only one that felt that the conference was a disaster? The speaker had no clear message, no development of a new aspect or idea, not a single reference to the many evidences that are out there requiring urgent guidance and vision for implementation or at least an attempt to link tie ideas together to a new fabric. For me it was just ‘hot air’.
Talking and presenting is an art in itself, I thought. Contents seems to be a different one. But I remained hungry for the evidence and the thorough thinking that usually nurtures ignorants. There was no, absolutely no new path laid down for me to continue thinking. Everything seemed just empty shells that require no action whatsoever. Are we all in shallow waters or hot air, blinded by the ability of a speaker that in fact has not succeeded to attract my admiration or nurtured my own way of thinking? What are we doing with evidence that is being produced with research and or evaluations if it does not lead to action? Are we unable to question? Are we becoming blind for the truths or just fearing the evidence, as it could not only change someones life in a positive sense, but also make us think or reconsider our action? I feel lost. I feel alone. I feel one of the last species, while I get the impression that the world around us gets more and more complex and reaching the point of no return of a whole civilisation. I’m scared.