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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Communication and Respect

c2016, KB

c2016, KB

There’s a meme I occasionally encounter on social media, and it’s a quote from Isaac Asimov:

There is a cult of ignorance, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.

Usually, I let the meme pass without comment.

Not so after the most recent encounter:

Unfortunately, democracy is made up of flawed human beings of varying perspectives, values, and educations. One trauma, one triumph, one challenge, one loss, one gain, one ________ can change our view of the world and of ourselves.

We — an all-encompassing “we” — need not assume that someone’s disagreement with our point of view means they are the ignorant one in the conversation.

Regardless of where we stand on certain issues, we too often think we stand above those with whom we do not agree. That, I think, is one main reason there are such gaping chasms between groups in this country.

Are only those with whom we agree worthy of courtesy?

Are only those we deem our intellectual equals worthy of our respect?

Are only those we consider morally correct worthy of being treated with decency?

We tend to assume we’re the ones with the whole truth, and often do not consider we might be mistaken.

On the other hand, there is absolute truth, and if we have no strength of conviction, we’ll never stand for anything.

There’s a time to hear and understand other points of view, even if we never change our own stance.

There’s a time to examine ourselves and explore other ideas, and then decide whether or not we need to adjust or to remain firm.

Simply because others disagree does not mean we double-down, speak louder, or become aggressive in trying to change their minds.

Maybe we’re the ones who are wrong.

Maybe, in our ignorance, we overlook their intelligence.

 

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Shackles or Wings?

“I can’t forgive” or “I won’t forgive”: I understand that great hurts can blind us to the humanity and frailty of others, especially when we’re encased in our own grief, pain, shame, ________. But, once the initial shock eases and we can breathe again, why would we choose to lug that nastiness around?

Ugly things happened when I was a child and a youth. They most certainly affected the course of my life. Traces of those events can be seen even now. But I don’t live there anymore.

A few years ago, I visited Oregon, where I once lived, after having spent most of my life in the South. Although fellow Southerners think I speak with a Yankee accent, Westerners hear the Southern accent.

There are traces of that life remaining in my speech.

And that’s okay. After all, it means I’ve been outside my bubble, seen other geography and culture, expanded my horizons.

Even when I no longer live in those places.

Those long-ago wounds still stab on occasion, but they no longer encage my mind or choke my heart or blind me to truth. Forgiveness, after all, is a matter of opening one’s hand and letting go of dust and rubble so one may reach for what is of more value — wisdom, love, hope, maturity, and more.

How can the pain in your life be transformed from a prison to a new pair of wings?

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Uncategorized