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It may seem rather audacious – if that’s the right word – to be writing about tomorrow the day after the doctors have pumped a large quantity of iron into your body to boost a rather waning haemoglobin rating. But if not now, when? There is the added spur that two days ago Martin Wolf of the Financial Times published a seminal article on the changing face of fascism. I can think of no better way to sum up what the world is facing. Martin Wolf’s words will linger in many minds for as long as lingering is permitted.

A very heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the many readers of the Daily Paradox who responded to my doom & gloom piece ‘The massacre in Moscow’ recently. There are too many to mention all of you and you referred a lot of material for me to ponder. I am truly grateful that you shined your lights in my dark corner. From the rational to the hysterical I love every contribution to reminding me how fortunate I am to have lived on our planet.  At John Treasure’s memorial service in St Bride’s in Fleet Street all those years ago, he insisted on having the retiring song as Louis Armstrong’s version of What a wonderful world. It is still relevant today.

No order of preference, but perhaps Chris Sherwell’s pointing attention to The short history of global living conditions and why it matters that we know it – Our World in Data should start the ball rolling. It’s not the dry, purely logical analysis the title suggests. It is the history of humanitarian progress, the reason we live as we do. It doesn’t depend on noise or hyperbole but on facts. Capture them before they are AI’d into fiction.  As you read it, please invest the vivid pictures of the past that it conjures.

They are the foundations of today’s scene.

Keeran Waltenberg’s enchanting melee of the sunrise was bound to strike a note with me. I coined a phrase many years ago that a sunset was a promise of tomorrow. Keeran joins it all together with (I paraphrase) ‘the young, the brave, the buds and the diehard optimists, those dedicated to safety, warmth and happiness. The sunrise,’ she concludes, ‘is both before and after the sunset.’ So touchingly true.

Robin Tomlin relays the story of Mr. Gil: A Retiree Teaches Afghan Women the Rules of the Road. Indeed, many of you have offered samples of non transactional goodness.  See this one at    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/16/us/california-afghanistan-women-driving.html?unlocked_article_code=1.fk0.U1dx.85AZV5wG-3gV&smid=em-share.

Joe Rouse thanks G.K.Chesterton for his shrewd summary that ‘gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder’. Certainly the ability to appreciate – the spur to gratitude – is something educationists might do well to ponder.

To thank is perhaps more important even than knowing who to thank?

Nicholas Prideaux and Uma Arora from opposite ends of the earth take the switchback view that after down is up. History is their endorser, optimism their energy.

As I say, too many wonderful replies to mention everyone. All who wrote and all they wrote has been a rainbow of shining and a calming shower of cooling.

But I must end with the most practical of all the suggestions. No words, just a small toy to sit on my desk and, if I feel blue, to bob up and down in front of me. He came to me from someone who was my very first client in our business thirty-two years ago. Tsin Yen is an exceptionally clever lady who married an exceptionally clever husband. The gift she gave me is round, jolly, fun and tireless. At the touch of my finger he will hop, at first rather hysterically, but later more sedately.

That is why he is called Hoptimist. You can see him in action below.

I think I’ll try to follow him.

Good morning
John Bittleston

29 March 2024

May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof (White House)
John Adams, 2nd US President, first one to live in the White House (30 Oct 1735-1826)