The person arguing the hardest typically has something else at stake other that being right. Whether it is their brittle male egos, love of authoritarianism or other kinds of fundamentalism, they are often arguing for a worldview. Being right often has little to do with it.
Celebrating Our Differences
After reading a bit about the Anne Hathaway kerfuffle on limb differences portrayed in The Witches, I find myself of two minds.
On one hand, we are all imperfect, a work in progress. When we do something stupid from a perspective we haven’t considered, it’s good and useful to have our myopic perspective pointed out.
We need to work to expand our perspective to the point that we can appreciate, even celebrate, our differences. The effort to train our minds to transcend our limited experience is hard work, but it is worth doing.
On the other hand, there is something about the effusive apology that I think makes this work harder. At some level, there’s a judgmental element involved, that people should have already incorporated some perspective and they are somehow less than because they haven’t. I think it is important to take people as they are and look for ways we, together, can move things in a positive direction.
No one has all the answers. No one is inherently better than anyone else. We all have something valuable that the world desperately needs. Like not being sensitive to limb difference, when we judge people rather than look for the good in their outlook, we are being a different variety of myopic. In the process, we lose the opportunity to expand our own perspective. In turn, you are also cutting them off from the good you are bringing to the table.
As the Mr. Rodgers saying goes, people are only open to change when engaged with someone that loves them. There are two religions, being right or loving someone. It’s impossible to be a member of both of these faiths at the same time.
“There are two religions in the world the religion of being right and the religion of being in love, and you can’t be a member of both at the same time.”—Garrett Bucks quoting his pastor in an interview with Anne Helen Petersen, “when you realize you’re on the wrong side.” Substack. October 22, 2020.
Advice across religions:
(1) You should make it clear where you stand from the jump, but they need to know that your goal isn’t to “win” a single conversation, but to keep them coming back to the table with you
(2) The point isn’t to hear why or how the other person justifies their beliefs, but to get an understanding of what fears/wants/desires/needs are behind those beliefs and
(3) Offer them alternate baby steps “out” of their current belief system that are still rooted in fulfilling or satisfying those same needs.—ibid.