How Do We Achieve Social Cohesion?
Strive to understand before you express
Take two people. Each has an opinion and a belief. We all know that changing someone’s mind, no matter how shallow or inaccurately deep, is a task which requires something profound, something which can create a reason for a shift in mindset and attitude.
These two individuals come from very different backgrounds. Put them into a room to debate their beliefs from their own and toward their own perspectives and it will take a very long time for something constructive to come out of that room. In fact, one or both may just come out injured and both will certainly come out more angry if they are not able to debate toward a common purpose. Such is the South African attitude currently.
It is one thing to debate for the purpose of getting a particular point across. It is another to debate toward finding a solution. Many scream at the top of their lungs, “I have a constitutional right to express myself!” and they are right. The reality is that having a right to express yourself does not make you right. Being right does not mean you have arrived at a solution. It simply means you have an opinion which is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.
Being a listener to talk shows on radio I get to hear many views and opinions. I am also often struck by how many people actually believe that the concept of having a right to form an opinion and express oneself automatically makes their viewpoint the correct one.
The theme of this website is Constructive Creativity. If we are to be constructive in what we hope to achieve we all need to lose sight of our ‘rightness’. The only right thing is to arrive at solutions with which we are all happy. That would make us right.
What I am saying here is that we need to learn to accept that our views are automatically incorrect to someone else. We need to accept that until we are able to debate toward a common purpose rather than coming to the forum with an attitude that yours is the correct view we will get no-where.
When entering any discussion, enter it with the mindset which opens you up to the oppositions idea. Ask questions. Ask why he or she feels that way. Try and find reason for their opinion and there will be a common ground found from which you can further the debate in a constructive way.
It is logical that we only hate until we allow ourselves to actually understand. There is an ingrained anger and hatred in a lot of people. The simple hacking of people when murdering and robbing them is a sick state of mind which is living without understanding, without being understood and without having a channel through which the hacker can constructively express themselves.
We have a government which is taking decisions which are strongly opposed by its people. This is a bad sign. We have a president and servants of this country who inflate their own importance and fail to live up to promises to consider the people before themselves.
Social cohesion will come via the platforms we create where people from all walks of life come to hear and understand the views of another as well as express their own. Social cohesion will not come from a governemt hellbent on taking as much for personal gain as they can before they are ejected from office. It appears the will to keep that office based on performance is a concept lost on our current group of politicians.
If I hurt you, come to me and tell me. Tell me everything. If I am true to myself and my country, I will hear you and before I reply I will seriously consider what you have said and how it has been for you from your perspective. Then I will take me own views and see where mine have been short sighted and biased by who I THINK you are based on whatever prejudices I may have. It won’t be easy but perhaps I can even change my views now that I have an understanding of you. I cannot do that if I don’t have understanding and if you cannot give me reason.
Physically getting together and debating the issues, coming face to face with your fears, your prejudices and dislikes will enable you to find true reason for your opinions. You may even find that your prejudices are unfounded and based on something which should actually have no place in your life. C’mon, let’s talk.