The world would be boring if we were exactly alike. If we all had similar mental or physical traits, then perhaps most external conflicts might slow down, however I don’t think we’d become peaceful. How many conflicting thoughts do you have on a daily basis? How often do like-minded groups disagree? Instead, I think we should celebrate, explore, and learn from our differences. The more I learn from others, the more I learn about myself.
Let’s say these five characters are considering a single topic in different ways:
- Mr. A in red is happy
- Mr. B in blue is meek
- Mr. C in yellow is neutral
- Mr. D in green is mad
- Mr. E, left, is the mysterious wildcard character, like the Joker in poker…
At least four of them, Mr. A through Mr. D, may have similar physical traits. Two are expressing emotional opinions that might be similar. Yet, overall, how similar are they?
I would say not that similar.
Sure, they may have similar physical traits that might give them similar life contexts. While these four may express happiness and anger in the same ways, none of them are seeing eye-to-eye on the topic at hand. That’s good. All four should be free to express their opinions without concern over being attacked or disregarded. While they may agree to disagree, that exploration of other people’s opinions and differences is what can enable each of these characters to develop a stronger understanding in the topic.
Since this could apply to any topic, so let’s go with a harmless example.
The same four opinions mentioned above are about how each of these characters think about a fictional band we’ll call Siege. In this example, Siege is a band that have lyrics primarily about historical battles. Mr. A thinks the band is great. Mr. B might not have an opinion. Mr. C isn’t that interested. And Mr. D completely dislikes the band. If Mr. A and Mr. D have a civil discussion about Siege, they both may leave the conversation having learned something about themselves and why they enjoy the band.
If not, they both lose.
Mr. A loses out on the opportunity to see what faults there might be with Siege, to possibly find out about other bands, and to have a more balanced opinion of them. Mr. D loses out on the opportunity to learn more about why people might like Siege, possibly learn to enjoy them himself, and to explore new ideas. Of course, all of this may seem obvious or trivial. Isn’t this how we should conduct ourselves? Isn’t this why topics of conversation are often mutually rewarding when we engage in them civilly and with respect?
Sure. It’s just we seem singularly focused on what makes us different.
We often don’t consider how the person that looks different from us could actually be similar to us. They could help us learn about ourselves in ways that people that look or think similar to us might not.
Inspirations: Martin Luther King Jr. Day