Category Archives: conflict resolution
I hear Einstein’s quote “…my faith is not compatible with science” as saying that his faith is not limited by current scientific knowledge. It seems to me, ignorant as I am, that there is more that humanity (including scientists) doesn’t know than what we do know.
Isaac Asimov’s non-fiction books are some of my favorites. “Wellsprings of Life” was describing the evolution of the tiniest to the largest things in the universe and showing the correlation between them. It was so awesome, I literally danced with joy at the amazing intelligence behind and in all of it. His book The Human Body and The Human Brain showed how incredibly physically different we are from one another even within our level of evolution. It explains so much that could free us from our cookie cutter vision of humanity.
I do admit that I sometimes see the amazing survival adaptions of animals now looking more like evolution than what I see in humanity.
For me Jesus was a significant leap in evolution from “tribal” to “universal,” from “me first” to “everything is one,” and, from “scorn of those who do not understand” to “forgive them for they know not what they do.” I see intellectual scorn dividing us and setting those we judge’s ignorance in concrete. Those who see possibilities and those who live in the reality of the present moment are two sides of the human coin. And sadly, those who are limited to custom and what they can see physically outnumber those who explore the possible dream. If we cannot find a way to care enough to understand each other and free us all to grow wiser and more understanding, we are building a tower of Babel that will lead to the destruction of all. I love science, but it does not yet have all the answers and many of them are paradoxical. If the person with the high IQ (IQ tests do not measure all skills and knowledge necessary for survival) cannot communicate with the majority across the gap so that they can accept that ignorance is curable, even though it makes us feel and sometimes appear stupid, we are doomed. The whole may be greater than the sum of its parts, but the parts need to work together.
Contempt is looking at people like they are side dishes we didn’t order. Our current division as Americans is going to undermine not only whomever wins the next election, but probably anyone winning many future elections. Trump just brought to light the depth of the fundamental differences in people. If we don’t find a way to actually communicate sanely across those, we are going to self-destruct as a nation. The basic differences are still the same as in our un-Civil War. I have found that many reasonable, kind, college educated family and friends who voted for Trump simply don’t believe what they hear and read opposing him. Even those that do, still are basically Republican. To me our conflicts are rooted in inborn personality differences. When I really tried to communicate with people I love across our differences, I began to understand why they think the way they do, I don’t necessarily agree, but I understand. Both liberals and conservatives, who don’t accept that we have to compromise to find a way to any shared acceptable vision of justice, are trapped in an illusion that their ideals are obtainable in a democracy of diverse people in close to equal numbers. Trump should be our wake-up call. And more than anything contempt simply shuts people’s minds and blocks any hope for compromise. I think all of us on both sides are filled with the hubris of contempt these days. Our conviction that we know the truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth is actually claiming to be God. It is sheer hubris. This is an imperfect world with imperfect people, who only by facing that reality can together inch toward creating a better, though still imperfect, world.
I have been writing about my experiences with prejudice in the last month. I have realized that because of being eight when WWII ended, I had seen news photos of the war at the movies and then photos and stories of the concentration camps, so I had a prejudice against Germans. Then when in the 1990’s, I traveled to areas speaking German in Switzerland, Austria, and the Czech Republic in a wheel chair and experienced prejudice against the handicapped first hand, it triggered that prejudice of mine. There were several very hurtful experiences and I came home hurt and angry and with renewed dislike for Germans. In writing and reliving it, I finally realized that most of the people we encountered during those trips were kind and friendly. My prejudice was based on just a few very mean people. I think this is often the case. I personally am vehemently anti-Trump, but I know and love and respect people who are staunch Republicans that voted for him. I admit it’s difficult for me to understand, but I know these are kind and loving people. So, like Oscar the Grouch, I am praying and working on my attitude. Pre-judging based on a small vocal group within a group is simply wrong. There are both hateful and loving people in every group, whether it’s a political, national, ethnic, racial, gender, or even a religious group. Prejudice blinds us to the good in people. In these times it is particularly important to be able to hear one another and work together to preserve our shared country and world.
To do that, we have to overcome prejudices of every kind. Even prejudice FOR the underdog. As a prejudiced person, I know what a struggle that is. But with grace, like Jesus did with the Samaritan, the unclean woman, the lepers, and even the soldier of the cruel Roman conqueror, we can see through to our shared human vulnerability and need for love and grace. Let’s pray for grace and actually work at it. It’s important.
It’s a conundrum: Here are some controversial issues from the views of both conservatives and liberals. How do we love the people we consider unloving because they fear floods of immigrants? How do we love people who want the freedom for women to kill a potential child even possibly as a convenience? How do we love people who want to deny medical treatment to the old and send the middle class into poverty from the cost of staying alive? How can we love people who we believe are going against nature and the bible? How can we love people who don’t see the danger in giant corporations owning those that govern us. How do we love someone that wants security for all, more than freedom from control by government. In a democracy we have a voice and a vote. When it has become a voice of hate on both sides, how do we love? How do we heal so we can once again become Americans, not Democrats or Republicans, not Capitalists or Socialists, not conservative Christians or Liberal Christians, no matter who wins the vote? How do we love what we don’t try to understand on either side? What happens if we continue to grow in our hatred of one another? What will a country of growing violence, with or with out automatic rifles, be like for our children and grandchildren? Who is willing to become a reasonable voice crying in the wilderness of antipathy, disgust, suspicion, distrust, self righteousness, fear, and hate? What good will winning do anyone if we dig our trenches at the extreme opposites, forcing moderates into the camps of extremists until we are hopelessly divided as much as enemies in wars?
No one is winning anymore. We have lost our way as a nation.
Bloggers, if you agree please write a similar post on your site or re-blog this. And ask others to do the same. We who want moderation and kindness need to speak out.
OK, who has actual numbers, countries, conditions that precipitated such a sudden increase in immigrants? What is the current number,condition, and plan for immigrants in custody.
Who has an itemized list of symptoms of climate change beyond normal vacillations in weather over a couple of centuries? Anyone know of charts imaging the extent of changes? Who reads the Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post , The Atlantic, and watches PBS and Fox News?
The time has come the Walrus said, to speak of many things! But unless we have some facts that we can trust, we will be ruled by dictators or kings. And even if you like the first, there’s no guarantee you will like those who follow, and we will no longer have a choice.
Anger, antagonism, name calling, ridicule, do not convince anyone. I’m open to facts with sources and numbers with names. I’d like to hear from people who actually read and analyze sources on opposite sides.
I admit that I became an ostrich once politics turned into mud throwing. I don’t know where to begin now, so am open to help.