After the positive response we received to our ‘weekly consideration’ post on Instagram this week, we decided to sift around podcast archives to find discussions that can perhaps elaborate on the topic at hand.
The battle between difference and civility within a diverse modern society is no fresh wound. Us human beings have over time learned to protect and defend any truth that is imperative to our safety and ease of living. But with the industrial age and new technological advancements birthing an obvious increase in hierarchical prejudice and power gaps, the urgency to address ways to remain unified seems more present than ever.
In THIS episode of The Upgrade by Lifehacker, the various guests lead us to understanding more deeply the benefits of doing life with people who hold vastly different views and practices to our own – without raising the stress levels too high…!
Practicalities to consider if you find yourself at loggerheads more often than not:
Sometimes it can be helpful for us to take a step back and ask, ‘am I saying this because it is necessary, or just to get a response?’ Merely being provocative does not offer anything but trouble, even though it may feel oh so good to see our own private agenda become actualised. In his book The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude, P.M. Forni proposes “when the healthy pursuit of self-interest and self-realisation turns into self-absorption, other people can lose their intrinsic value in our eyes and become mere means to the fulfilment of our needs and desires.”
If we are consistently seeking out intellectual dominance only to bolster our own views we distance ourselves from the inherent equality we share with others. Whereas safe arguments and debates can become platforms for employing strategy to reach some helpful common ground, not just mutual cathartic release.
But how do we stay engaged and strong in our convictions while simultaneously being gentle enough to usher in new ways of seeing that may strengthen our own resolve?
How can we reach the resolution of ‘let’s agree to disagree’ but still avoid compromising our integrity or resigning ourselves to a position of apathy or indifference? (Especially within the current political climate we find ourselves in.)
Political scientist Jeffery Howard may be able to guide us towards some answers with this comment he made in an interview with the TED Radio Hour podcast in 2018:
“One reason I think our public discourse is broken is because people have the wrong attitude toward the purpose of public discourse. They think of it as a tribal fight between different teams, rather than thinking of it as a conversation. When people participate in public discourse they tend to think of themselves as tasked with scoring points for their side, rather than engaging authentically, sincerely, honestly in public reasoning with their fellow citizens about the kind of society we want to live in. I think that portrays a level of arrogance and certitude that is inconsistent with the complexity and difficulty of the kinds of questions that we face in public life.”