Bridging Gaps
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Politics and Activism

Bridging Gaps

If we let pride come before love, there will never be peace.

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Bridging Gaps
Abby Phillips

Everybody thinks they're right, without exception. Even when they say they're wrong, they just believe they're right about being wrong, or about a new thing.

In this season of political and social issues, this is something that gets brought up a lot.
Everybody is tossing their opinions up into the air, hoping that they catch on. Despite our best efforts to coat our language in passive-aggressive phrases like "I'm just stating my opinion," there's still fighting and conflict. The self-righteousness in the air right now is heavy, but we can't seem to help it.

Of course, it's natural for people to have convictions. Like Graham Greene said, "sooner or later, one has to take sides if one is to remain human." Even Socrates was accused of being a coward in discourse because he would ask questions and not take a side, lest he be challenged or proven wrong. Not taking a stance is probably the safest route, but even those who go this way are making a decision. A sense of being right is unavoidable. And not only is it part of our nature to feel like we are right, it's also a natural tendency of ours to get others to agree. Our intrinsic egocentricity extends to other people, to the point where defiance or disagreement is a personal insult.

So what can be done about it?

I think that the upset occurs when we take our perimeters and definitions of what's right and wrong and apply it to other people. A cohesion of principles for everyone simply isn't plausible. But of course, we try anyway, and sometimes it's necessary. The law, both religious and judicial, imposes a standard definition of what's right over the masses.

Even if we follow the Christian God as the definition of good, it's still difficult to transfer that into absolute terms of right and wrong. There are often gray areas, and because people disagree, moral uniformity is impossible. People can do horrible things and find ways to justify them if they can pick out a scripture that backs them up. There is always debate, even when the law is written in a book like the Bible.

Our views of morality are connected to our personalities, which means everyone has a different notion of what the correct path is. Psychologically, convincing somebody that they are wrong and you are right is like trying to forcibly transfer your brain into their skull. So, the question remains: what do we do about it? How can we bridge this gap?

Well, uniformity can't exist, but mobility can. People have the wonderful, beautiful ability to adopt ideas. We can adapt and learn and even concede, especially when we put our love for people before our need to win. But ideas have to be accepted and assimilated on an individual's terms. You can't force somebody to think anything. If people are going to change, they have to do so willingly. The best way to convince somebody you're right is to not force it down their throats, get angry, or punish them when they disagree. Someone is 100% less inclined to agree with you or come to your side when you're being nasty about it. What's important is that ideas are simply presented. It's up to the other person whether they will reject it or pick it up.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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