"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
In light of the recent, turbulent political climate engulfing our social circles, we must all remember that at the end of the day, the goal is to live in a more peaceful unity with one another. Regardless of one’s personal opinions or ideologies. The most fundamental principle of peace is the respect for diversity. Diversity not only in status and physical traits, but also in thought. We must learn to live amongst one another and respect the fact that every single person is entitled to hold their own opinion about their reality. After all, you aren’t the one living in their reality, so stop trying to control it.
Not everyone is going to agree with you and that’s perfectly okay. In fact, it’s healthy for a thriving society! But unfortunately, the greatest issue that we face isn’t the lack of diversity and fervor in upholding our contrasting beliefs and opinions, it’s the fact that we haven’t learned to accept that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. Period. Point blank. End of discussion.
Unfortunately, many of my friends, peers, and acquaintances think that it’s perfectly acceptable to show no respect and no manners while they openly berate and belittle anyone for having a “totally skewed” opinion on reality. Earth to everyone who thinks this method is effective: it really, really isn’t. You might think that the person whom you were trying to engage in civil conversation with is totally wrong, and that’s okay, but please for the love of Jesus, do not attack them for holding views that are contrary to your own. If you haven’t already figured it out, talking to someone in a condescending tone of disapproval never works in your favor. And neither does finger pointing or name calling.
One of the greatest lessons I learned, which I will repeat time and again since it was repeated to me time and again by my AP Lang teacher, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Wise words to live by, Aristotle. The only way we can grow intellectually and achieve a tolerant, peaceful society is if we live by these words.
Without question, there will always be people who disagree with you. Whether it’s a conversation over how to tie your shoes correctly (throw back to when this was the biggest argument in kindergarten), whether the Falcons will win the super bowl, or regarding pressing, hot button political issues, there will be no shortage of people who disagree with you. However, it’s important to recognize that this is totally okay. It’s also equally important to try and not shut down any potential for conversation through having a nasty attitude or belittlement of the other person. Everyone has their own story, their own reasons for believing what they do, their own cultural upbringing, and most importantly, their own reality.
Do not berate and belittle someone for having their own opinion. Be open minded and allow for your ideas and your philosophies to be challenged, don’t feel threatened by merely entertaining a different thought or idea. Only feeble minded people allow for the opinions of others to make them feel insecure or threatened. Allow a discussion to take place rather than an argument. This is crucial, especially if you ever wish to live in a more harmonious, peaceful society. Try and understand someone else's perspective rather than just your own.