Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Lost Art of Disagreement


"Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress." Gandhi

We live in a really weird time guys. 

Businesses are being closed, churches are being shut down, and other institutions are forced to shutter on the fact, a simple fact, that we as a society no longer know how to disagree. 

We don't want to come off as "that person", that disagreeable person. We don't want to be the "negative Nancy". We don't want to be the person who says the kid who lost the race does not get the metal because they lost the race. 

We give everyone a metal whether they have won or lost. But while the kids feel great about the medal as they walk home, I wonder if we've crippled them by not using this lesson as an opportunity to teach them how to handle losing. In that,  do we end up creating a bunch of entitled people who feel that they have the right to everything, including the positive opinions of others? 

Because that's what has happened to us.

Disagreement is a lost value. We don't know how to handle when someone does not agree with us. We feel like everyone should think like we do. We think we should all think the same. 

And when someone has the audacity to dare have a differing opinion than us, we think they're out to get us. We think that there simply being mean to us. We make a differing in opinions to be an all out attack on our character, on us as individuals. 

We don't know how to health how to healthily divorce disagreement of an idea with disagreement with the person as a being. What's worse is that we feel that if you don't agree with our life style choices, then you should be called terrible names, be publicly humiliated and forced to lose your reputation and your livelihood. 

And this is not how we should be.

We need to learn how to disagree in a healthy manor. Just because we are having a disagreement with another human being,does not mean we are necessarily fighting. And just because were having a disagreement does not mean we are at odds. 

It simply means that we are in a disagreement. And that's okay. 

There are fully functioning families that have ongoing disagreements and they are some of the happiest people with fruitful relationships. And that's okay.

There are marriages, healthy marriages, where there are points of disagreement. And that's okay. 

There are great friendships where there are places a disagreement and they are comfortable with it. 

And that's okay.

How do they do it? They do not allow a difference in opinion equate to a differing in love or in the heart. They only let it mean what it means, that there is a difference in opinion.

A difference in opinion is actually a good sign! It means that there are a group of critical thinkers together. But that's the point, they are together. They're not in separate camps devising ways to destroy each other. They are sitting together having a dialogue with one another to discuss points of difference. And that's great because they're discussing something. They are working it out with their vocabulary and voicing their ideal...together

And this is good.

In fact, this is healthy for the group, that there are multiple people who are capable of thinking for themselves is a wonderful quality. That groupthink has not taken over the group is a wonderful quality. That mob mentality nor obstruction or hindrance to the free flow of thought and dialogue is a wonderful thing. However it is perilous to lose such a health.

Question: Since when does a differing in opinion equate to bigotry? 

I'm not saying that I disagree with who you are, I'm saying I disagree about a certain point in your lifestyle. I wish you no harm. Im sure that there are certain points in my own lifestyle that you can and are welcome to disagree with. However I will not call you any names because you're not doing me any harm with your opinion.

I believe that we lose a certain richness in our culture when all of us agree about something. (True you do have the wacky crazy people who disagree with basic fundamentals of the group and wish to cause people harm and danger...I'm not referring to those people). 

I believe that we got so lost in the wilderness of political correctness that we now have wandered into the wasteland of "let's just agree with everybody", and without standing up for us our own treasured ideals. 

I believe it's time for us to do better. Thoughts?