Intolerance and the Fall of Civilization

“In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.” ~Dalai Lama

i_love_being_tolerant_coffee_mug-r1c1865b42be2465584e09e35da0ac1b7_x7jgr_8byvr_324Have we become less tolerant of others or is it just more apparent because of the ubiquity of social media, connecting us to more people than ever, whether we want to be or not? I’ve wondered this more so lately.

“It’s my opinion, so it can’t be wrong,” someone posted the other day on Facebook, in response to someone else saying they were wrong. This seems to be the prevailing argument these days when someone judges another, for whatever reasons. It’s this idea that everyone is entitled to share their opinions, even if those opinions are sweeping statements about entire groups, when they are hateful and hurtful, when their only intent is to emotionally maim someone else.

“If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at all,” my mother taught me growing up, and I think it’s even more relevant now. At least when I was growing up there wasn’t the access to what everyone else was thinking. Back then we kept our thoughts to ourselves, if only because there was no internet as a megaphone. We were dislikefaketaught to be… what was the word again… oh yeah, NICE to everyone else, even if it meant putting on a face and pretending. Just to keep the peace.

But “the peace” has gone out the window. Too many people aren’t tolerant of others. The second we hear that someone else has something different from us we try and find ways of tearing them down. Either we’re jealous, we just don’t understand it, or it matters not to us, but instead of ignoring whatever it is, instead of moving on with our lives, we make a snarky comment on some sort of social media, and things escalate. What happened to our sense of tolerance?

More and more I see these posts, I see these memes, I watch these intolerant comments fill up space that used to be for pictures of cats and monkeys getting along together. More and more often I can’t help but shake my head at the ignorance, at the brazenness, of these intolerant souls who just can’t seem to help themselves. But they can help themselves. I do it all the time. Do I agree with every single thing everyone else says? No. But I understand that we are all individuals, that we all have our own ways of seeing the world.

Because, see, that’s how tolerance works. We need more of it in our world today. Or at the very least, we don’t need to say everything that comes into our minds. We really don’t.



Six For Saturday

six_lgIt’s amazing to me how much happens during the course of a normal week, and you know my brain goes about a mile a minute. So I thought at the end of each week I would sum up the top six recurring thoughts in my head, or just ideas or stories that hit me in just the right way that week. With no further ado, here are my first Six For Saturday…

  1. I received the first copies of my new novel in the mail on Friday, and I held my breath to see just how they came out. I love the typeface, the layout, and the cover, all things I was most worried about going into it.
  2. I completely fell in love with Lorde, listening to her album in its entirety several times this week. Honestly, I think my wife is so tired of hearing me sing “Team” and “White Teeth Teens,” but I can’t seem to help myself.
  3. I rediscovered where I updated my author page, started a giveaway, and reviewed several books that I finished in the not too distant past. It’s amazing to me to be able to connect with other readers and authors in a place where it’s encouraged.
  4. My daughters were on their mid-winter recess this week, so I got to spend a lot more time with them than normal, and I realized they are a lot like me. It’s funny, but I was talking to my wife about it on Wednesday and she said they got the best parts of our personalities, and the worst parts of our attitudes. I concur, especially after hearing “It’s not fair!” from both of them several times this week.
  5. 20 years is a long time, but sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. Only two months until my 20 year high school reunion, and it seemed like everything this week was reminding me of it, from Facebook friends mentioning it, to me finding some of my writings from back then, to photos that showed up when I was going through my files to consolidate my pictures. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around where those 20 years went.
  6. The Olympics.


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