The Mystic and The Warrior

From Ted Quotes:

“Don’t persuade, defend or interrupt. Be curious, be conversational, be real. And listen.”

- Elizabeth Lesser

There’s a real threat today. No, it’s not out of control spending. No, it’s not religious zealotry. These are symptoms of a larger ailment.

It’s that our conversations about the issues about which we disagree are broken.

Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of Omega Institute, author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, and The Seeker’s Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure, tells the story quite well:

To me, especially poignant are her uses of popular headlines:

“Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder,” “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot,” “Pinheads and Patriots,” “Arguing With Idiots.”

And her comparison to a less popular headline:

“Four-and-a-Half-Years of Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice.” (Adolph Hitler)

At the risk of “otherizing” her, based on her self-description as an activist for the left, I would guess that Elizabeth Lesser and I would disagree on the best approach to a variety issues that we face today.

Clearly, we need to do lunch.

And unfortunately, it seems to me that recently the trend toward “otherizing” is making its way from the fringes, to the middle.

Regular, smart, educated, hard-working, and generally “good” people are starting to buy-in to this process of demonizing their unlike-minded counterparts.

Maybe it’s marketing. Maybe it’s the media. Maybe it’s the filter bubble:

Whatever it is, it needs to stop. We all need to take more accountability for how we frame the issues, make our cases, and have our discussions.

  • http://about.me/billbean Bill Bean

    Glad I came across your post, Gyi. I watched the whole video. Good reminder. We’re all always needing course correction. There’s a great need to restore the civil in civil discourse. We’re far to guilty of villainizing those we disagree with. Often it’s simply the result of being lazy and allowing our conversation to be shaped by the loud mouths. Thanks for sharing this.

    • http://gyitsakalakis.com Gyi Tsakalakis

      Thanks for the comment Bill. We have to learn that we can passionately disagree without “otherizing.” The only way we can learn to be exposed by the positions of those who disagree with us. Attack the idea, the person communicating the idea.