Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A call for cool heads

Please don't dismiss the following suggestion by thinking it bizarre . . .  give me a moment to explain.
Here's the suggestion:  might a route to world peace be found through the installation of automatically-controlled windows?

Ludicrous and unlikely as this idea may seem, let me illustrate my point.

The other day I was attending a debate.  The hall booked for the occasion was of recent construction, it was very modern in design and fitted with state-of-the-art technology.  Amongst other things, this technology included automatically-controlled windows.  When the temperature inside rose, so the windows opened.  When the temperature dropped, the windows closed accordingly.  It was a system that allowed for uniformity of temperature and, in addition, spared those inside the need to think in terms of ventilation.

But there proved to be a totally unexpected benefit, as those participating in this debate were soon to discover.

When we speak of a heated argument producing a lot of hot air, are we thinking literally?
This particular occasion proved that 'hot air' means precisely what it says.

As the debate raged, and speakers on opposing sides grew more and more heated, so the temperature inside the hall rose.  The argument was reaching a climax when one particularly impassioned speaker leaped to his feet to make a decisive thrust.
"There is absolutely no doubt . . . " he declared emphatically.
But we weren't to discover where this absence of doubt lay.  Instead, there was a totally unexpected contribution to the debate.  It came in the form of a whirring and a creaking.  The whirring and creaking grew steadily louder, culminating in the slow and dramatic opening of the windows above our heads.

Even had our attention not been diverted by this unlikely intervention, we were no longer able to hear the speaker.  After struggling for a moment, he abandoned the futile effort as his words were completely drowned by the windows'  slow, grinding mechanism.

The intervention had provided us all with time to pause, time in which to reflect and literally cool down.  It was not surprising, therefore, that shortly after the speaker resumed his speech he was once again interrupted.  The hall had cooled  . . .  it was time, the windows decided, to shut!

In the course of the debate, the windows demonstrated their slow and deliberate opening and closing procedure no less than four times.  They introduced the cathartic element of humour, something which had been markedly lacking before.  They deflated pomposity and encouraged cool and rational debate.

It's only an idea, but what if international leaders were to meet under similar conditions?
What if cool heads and rational debate could be guaranteed by automatically-controled windows, windows that would provide the regular introduction of mind-clearing, restorative fresh air?

You see, it isn't quite the bizarre idea we originally thought!