In the last few months I’ve been doing a little bit of thinking, and here’s what I’ve come up with:
Just because someone doesn’t share your view or opinion it doesn’t make them stupid or wrong (although they may very well be stupid, and they may very well be wrong).
Growing up, I was a very self-righteous child. I used to spend a lot of time pondering on whether what was going on in my life - inside my family, my friend-group, my school - was fair and right or unfair and wrong. I would discuss it with others – mainly my very patient father – and consider the matter at hand from just one angle. Mine. And boy did it feel good. I mean, it was still frustrating and confusing because the world never lived up to my expectations of what it should be and people never behaved up to my expectations of what they should do, but at least I felt certain that I was in the right and therefore it was everyone and everything else that was irremediably wrong. What’s wrong with the world? Well, from that standpoint, kind of everything.
But at some point I grew up and realized that things are not as easy to assess and understand. That the concepts of right and wrong can be very tricky once you leave the realm of pure sciences, and that there is an extensive shade of grey covering all consequential and inconsequential matters.
Believe me, I was late to this party; it took me quite a long time to figure this out. And yet when it comes to certain topics such as politics, social movements or religion, I see people thinking like my 10-year-old self would have. And it’s quite concerning.
I don’t care what political party you identify with or whether you are happy about the latest US elections results; I refuse to believe that ~50% of a country (either in 2020 or in 2016) is absolutely idiotic. It’s just not possible that all the idiots in a country belong to the same political party. And I have listened to people on both sides, and I have reached the conclusion that both sides have similar numbers of idiotic and intelligent people. You may have a different view, different priorities and different life experiences that have influenced your vote, but all those people who chose to vote differently are not dumb. Or evil. Or wrong.
Here’s the thing: believing something doesn’t make it real, and thinking something doesn’t make it true. Just because you think someone is an idiot it doesn’t mean they are. And just because you believe you are right it doesn’t mean you are. Not everyone you meet and know will agree with you, and that’s ok. In fact, it’s a good thing. Maybe we should all be doing a little less talking and a little more listening.
I’ll go first.