Healing emotions

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I sympathise with G Jay’s distress at his friend’s rejection of his No-voting friends (Letters, 7 October). I’m sure this intolerance has been replicated across the nation, and is a sad indictment of our inability to accept opposing views.

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum, many people, like Mr Jay’s friend, will feel too emotionally raw to engage in any rational dialogue about the result, and what it means.

Their expectations had been forged out of a furnace stoked by the heat of nationalist fervour, and the full scale of their crushing disappointment can be measured by the degree of anger and intolerance shown towards those who voted against independence.

Mr Jay’s friend, amongst others, would benefit from studying the Socratic method of inquiry, which allows people to see what their opinions really amount to.

Of course, like the old joke about the number of psychiatrists required to change a light bulb, he would really have to want to change his intransigent views in order to re-establish his friendships.

This method forces people to confront their own dogmatism, and encourages them to subject their sincerely held convictions to rigorous and frequent scrutiny, with honesty, humility and ­courage. Not easy, but immensely beneficial.

Confronting his dogmatism would not mean relinquishing his belief that voting Yes was, and remains, the correct choice for him.

What it may do is allow him to concede that others have ­different views which are held equally sincerely.

More importantly, it would end this distressing estrangement from his friends, which must be hurting him as well as them.

Carolyn Taylor


Broughty Ferry