I think we can probably all agree that every single one of us is a completely unique individual with completely unique ideas, ethics, and philosophies. Therefore, if I said that my thoughts, morals, and principles were the only honorable way to maneuver through this life, outrage would ensue. I would like to point out, however, that every time we argue a point of contention, we are in a very small way doing just that.
Debating, quibbling, and fighting over individual ideals and beliefs will not (usually) change anyone's mind. Because, at the end of the day, we all have this intrinsic belief that we are right. The only way to explain this phenomenon rationally is to simply say it is the result of being human.
Anthropologists call it ethnocentrism, which, I think, only really explains how one ethnicity believes they are superior to all others. Some say it justifies colonialism, slavery, etc....
I personally call this behavior egocentrism, which definitely has negative connotations, but is, I believe, a much better description for this innate human condition that even the wise and enlightened among us have difficulty escaping.
Within this humanness, we look to and are attracted to folks who agree with us on the broadest issues. The people who think, look, or speak differently automatically become “the other”, and as I have mentioned in previous posts, permits all manner of atrocities to be committed. This conduct does not exclude the most forward thinkers; on some level, we are all guilty, simply because we are all human beings.
At this point, we have established that we are all totally different. We all believe our way is best; we will all fight over our perceived rightness, and, as a result, we will not change our minds despite arguments leveled at our deemed incorrectness. If this is indeed all true, then we can also agree that debates are beyond useless!
I would like to propose, in the new year, that instead of lecturing, judging, debasing, ostracizing, or criticizing someone for their personal beliefs, we offer them the circumstances to freely seek out new information, knowledge, and understanding, as well as the opportunity to change their minds without feeling coerced or pressured.
We may also, in the process, find the strength, awareness, wisdom, and hope to change our own minds about previously held personal truths.
Just think about all of the favorable conditions for open-minded growth, change, and peace that will emerge, not to mention, stress relief!
* This post was partially inspired by a Seth Godin blog entitled Making a New Decision from a few weeks ago.
Happy New Year!
Didn't get your donation to DRC in the mail before December 31st? No worries! Send us your tax deductible contribution today (check or PayPal) and you can simply get an early start on the 2016 tax year.
We are doing this amazingly rewarding work all year long and rely on your generosity to provide kids, from all walks of life, the option to live and learn without school.
After School Program begins Monday, January 4
Leillah, a student member of DRC, who has extensive experience working with young children has designed this program. She and other volunteers, with my support, will provide a safe, nurturing, creative environment for youth to explore their interests. Call or email today to register your child.
The Growth Spurt Continues ...
We will welcome two new student members when we return on Monday. If you know of a child who would benefit from our programs, please get in touch. Any student who is interested in learning more, is welcome to visit for a day or two to fully engage in the DRC experience.