How important Please and Thank you are. Increasingly they are getting lost. “Sorry” is taking their place. It’s a poor substitute. Why are the little rituals so important? Some will say it’s a matter of common courtesy, good manners, a tradition. All these are true but I think Please and Thank you are important because they make us pause. We rightly rush about a great deal. Making the most of our time on earth is virtuous. Rushing doesn’t always do that but cramming everything we can into our 100 years here is good.

We still need moments to pause. They will sometimes be very short (like Please and Thank you). At other times they will be longer – a weekly reflection of an hour or so; perhaps even a PASDAQ™ Review now and then. Reflecting on our world and our life is what the hunter-gatherers had time to do. Civilisation has not robbed us of that valuable space. If anything, it has given us opportunities to understand so much more about life that we need – and have – extra time to ponder.

People often call their pondering ‘a church service’ and it is a good place to find the time. Even those who have no faith realise the value of church time for those who do. It becomes more apparent when we have festivals and celebrations. Twice recently we have seen models of how this can be made more effective. Peter Low’s Choir service-concert in Singapore saw several different religious beliefs praying together – Muslims, Jews, Christians all singing their hearts out in a Catholic Cathedral. Praise be indeed.

And then the sad memorial service in St Paul’s Cathedral, London for the 71 people who died in the Grenfell Tower disaster showed us the same coming together. Several religions remembering and praying for those who had gone and for those who are left. The lessons from these two – and many other similar events round the world – are simple. Don’t rationalise religion out of existence. Let the religions come together to provide a point of fraternity, A Place to Pause, a time to seek greater wisdom.

That is the wish we have for 2018. Not to become robotic, lineal thinkers but friendly, creative imaginers of the next myth we are to invent to make our lives exciting. So where does the Please and Thank you come into all that? Very simply, actually. Please can we all do our bit to make A Place to Pause that is inclusive and not exclusive? Please can we move that aspiration one small step forward in 2018? Last time we took a “small step for mankind” we reached the moon. A Place to Pause would be an even greater achievement.

And the Thank you? As always at this time of year The Daily Paradox takes a sort-of break. This year will be no exception. We won’t give up altogether but you will find a few weeks of rather intermittent DPs. We shall be having a little break. Of course, if Trump goes even madder we shall be dragged back to the keyboard, force majeure. Perhaps he might take a little, ponderous break, too?

So Thank you for being good and helpful readers, for giving me feedback which I greatly appreciate and for inspiring me to dream up A Place to Pause. It is a reflection of the best present we can possibly receive now or at any time of the year.

It is, of course, The Present.

The symbol at the top of this article is one version of the Quantum Computer symbol.

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