I voted yesterday in our federal election and while I was standing in line a couple of things struck me; 1. I need to wax my chin hairs (I felt them gently blowing in the breeze) & 2. I wonder how we all have such different views. This second thought had me pondering further and I know we are influenced by our culture, personal history and life experiences, but in today’s world of instant information; can we still be so divided on so many things? If we have access to the same data and information, why are we not all coming to the same conclusions? I have strong views, as did a man standing behind me at the polling booth yesterday, yet had I voiced mine; I am sure an exchange of ideologies would have ensued; although from his remarks around conspiracy theories involving ‘bloody refugees’ I don’t believe it would have been a fair fight. I know I would not have made as much noise as him. It’s not that I don’t hold true to my beliefs, just that I believe he may not have accurate information to allow him to make an informed judgment about the subject matter. Because there are facts, but often the facts around many subjects are ‘massaged’ and manipulated for the benefit of winning an argument. I am not saying that what I believe is right and I am not saying what he believes is wrong (although clearly I am judging him as ignorant – and is that fair?).
So for the sake of this argument, let’s assume we each had the same non-refutable information; I dare say we would still be in disagreement; why? Why would we be able to look past the facts and still hold onto our own truths? Is it all about our own insecurities and internal dialogues, do we gravitate to messages that either stir our inner most fears or ignite our passions? If we have no compassion for ourselves, how can we feel compassion or empathy for other? If our passion for life has been extinguished by trauma or past hurt can we truly feel love for others? I don’t know or understand or pretend to be all enlightened; because I have my own prejudices and make judgment calls about people. For all I know the gentlemen behind was a social sciences professor, with a PHD in genocide and not the uneducated, intolerant, ‘wounded in childhood’ angry, privileged white man that I painted him as in my head.
So while I sit here stroking my chin hairs pondering on life, I do know one thing for certain; I am grateful to live in a society that allows us to have such different views and express them.