Content Index: PC97

By Scott Nesler

If stagnation is the desire, finding an argument 180 degrees opposed to yours will help. If the goal is to move forward, finding a similar argument within 15 degrees is a better direction.

A friendly relationship with every acquaintance is unrealistic. Fortunately, there are 7 billion individuals frequenting this earth in search of commonality.  Dialog gives opportunity to understand and respect diversity.    The commonality of shared interest and belief provides a window to new perception.

Discourse has and will always exist in humanity.   It need not be destructive.   It need not be debate. Short on words, the lyrics of the Beatle's song "We Can Work It Out" hints at an answer for civility.   As the song says, "Life is very short, and there's no time, For fussing and fighting, my friend".    "You can get it wrong and still you think that it's alright", suggest a societal solution for misunderstanding.

Think of the intersection diagram describing the belief system of three individuals. Politics and religion are poor topics for initial conversation. Though political and religious beliefs can change, many years of education, turmoil, and experience solidifies an individual's belief. The unestablished trust, respect, and familiarity of a new acquaintance creates a protective wall around personal belief. The lack of shared understanding creates an atmosphere of protectionism such that the boundaries of belief are guarded in a military like warfare of debate or devil's advocacy. Friendship are developed over time. Nurturing compassion is an effective tool for building trust, respect, and familiarity with a new acquaintance, far better than debate, devil's advocacy, or turmoil. Once friendship is established, the guarded walls of belief start to crumble, providing opportunity to explore difference. In terms of the diagram, the suggestion is to seek mutual inclusion or commonality with initial acquaintances. After establishing friendship, the ring of inclusion will widen. The initial focus on commonalities extends the duration of an acquaintance building trust and friendship giving opportunity to constructively build understanding and respect for difference.

In the current climate of today's United States Senate it is rare to find opportunities where both sides can come together and work in the middle to craft a solution for our country's problems. Ted Kennedy, with all of his ideological verbosity and idealism was a rare person who at times could put aside differences and look for common solutions. Not many ever got to see that side of him, but as peers and colleagues we were able to share some of those moments.  -- Orrin G. Hatch (Republican/Conservative Senator of Utah)

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The exact measure of the progress of civilization is the degree in which the intelligence of the common mind has prevailed over wealth and brute force. George Bancroft


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