Trump versus Clinton; Brexit; migration; European populism – things are getting more than a little tetchy right now. I don’t think I can remember a time when western societies were so polarised – even in the 1970s. I can’t remember a time when even good friends, lovers, spouses were avoiding certain conversations, having lost the capacity to have a frank exchange of views without the danger of lasting damage to the relationship. What is clear from both Brexit and the Trump/Clinton campaign, is that it is becoming a collision of different cognitive realities. There seems now no basis for even the most minimal level of mutual comprehension that one would need for a conversation. In the old days, Marxists and Popperian/Hayekian liberals were at least intelligible to each other. They argued about capitalism and the nature of history and human rationality. Now I think you would have a better chance at a reasonable exchange of views between a clown fish and a gut bacterium in a camel. Living in such different circumstances and experiencing the world in such different ways, there would be very little chance of these interlocutors, coming to understand that the coral reef and the small intestine of a camel in the Sahara desert … are in fact part of the same universe and subject to the same basic laws. But following from this, perhaps a stranger thought is that actually to have an insight into both of these worlds, and indeed to have friends in both worlds – one might expect to have a God-like experience of omnipotent understanding. To understand both the coral reef and the camel’s intestine; and also to have some kind of picture of their position and interrelation within the encompassing system of the biosphere – well surely this should at least give a person the frisson of the All-father. But in fact, such a wide vision induces instead a feeling of abject futility –because you know that bacteria and clown fish will never see the world through the same eyes. The bacterium of course doesn’t even have eyes. Anyway I was thinking about this, and it suddenly struck me that God must be so gut wrenchingly stressed and pissed off –all the time. S/he must have very bad ulcers – because that’s God’s multiple reality: to know the world of the bacterium and the clownfish, the camel and the coral, and a zillion others – and to know also that they will never be able to talk to each other. Like organising a party in a 100 different dimensions and inviting one guest from each dimension only – and being the only person in the room who can see all the others. I wouldn’t want that job.