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{Note: This podcast episode was published June 18, 2020. It’s still being listened to and has turned into the most downloaded episode to date. I thought I’d post the transcript. Thanks for listening}

Hello Everyone, welcome to “Close to the Bone.” I’m Carl Vreeland.

 

This is episode #6, entitled, I Am Right and You Are Wrong.

 

When we say it out loud. When we sincerely express it or even think it. . . well, to be frank, it’s quite arrogant, isn’t it. Yet, most of us think it and genuinely believe it. And so how do we expect to have this “conversation” that everyone is suggesting and desiring? When certainly this attitude closes the door to any conversation. I mean, if we enter into a dialogue knowing that we are right and they are wrong, well, the conversation really ends there before it even starts.

 

The truth of this quote is apropos: “There are two sides to every argument, until you take one.”1 See, few of us want to have a dialogue, most of us just want to talk, we don’t want to listen. But if we really want to have a dialogue, a “conversation,” we will need to listen. But there is a problem—few of us know how to. In fact, many are unable to listen even if they desired to. This is because listening to someone else’s opinion, especially an opposing one, takes practice and skill. Not easily getting offended by other points of view takes patience and understanding. Again, a skill few seem to have, looking at the current environment.

 

Now of course, we all think judgmental thoughts, we all have unkind, unloving, and sometimes hateful thoughts in fact. But it’s one thing to think these thoughts and feel them, and it’s quite another to verbalize them and act out on them. Listening takes restraint, which takes practice. Yelling out our opinions is easy and actually lazy. Anyone can do it. But the Path to a peaceful world is a difficult one. It takes great effort. Painfully, as of late, many close friendships have tragically ended over a difference of opinion. When we adamantly feel we are right, when we are coming from an angry and aggressive place, we cause a lot of damage and harm to others and the world. Think about it, even if we truly believe we are right and they are wrong, why is it necessary to express it with aggression and vindictiveness? Why must we speak angrily? Why must we debase another person, group, situation, or institution? This is not the path to peace. No, this behavior is just contributing to the cycle of hate that exists in the world.

 

If we believe someone is wrong about something, why not listen to them? Why not try to understand their point of view? If their views are hateful, perhaps it is due to ignorance and fear. By demonizing them, discharging hate toward them, we only fuel their opposing views. As they say—we can’t stop hate with hate. Aggression only fuels the fire, only reaffirms our opposition’s stance and puts them on the defensive. We need to let others speak. If there’s any chance of someone turning less hateful, close-minded, and bigoted, if we desire to change someone’s view, we stand a greater chance of doing so by listening to them, and having a heart to heart conversation.

 

Let’s take a moment here, a moment to get really honest with ourselves. Why do we make the effort to try and change someone’s mind, someone’s viewpoint? Is it because we want the world to be a better place? Is it because we want things as we believe they should be, according to our morality? Is it a desire to feel secure and in control in a chaotic environment? Or is it because we want to be right? How earnest is our urge and need to change others? Are we trying to enlightened someone? Are we doing it out of love and compassion?

 

Shouting in the streets, telling people how they should live, according to your views, in line with how you and your tribe think one should conduct their life is a bit self-righteous, don’t you think? I mean, in a way, how is it any different than religious or political fundamentalism? Even if you are morally and ethically aligned with universal principles such as love, pureness, honesty and unselfishness, and your proclamations are too, how does screaming in someone’s face fit into that framework? More to the point, where is there room for this so-called “conversation” you claim to want to engage in?

 

So, back to the question, what’s our intent? Is it to wake up others? To compassionately help our fellows? It’s certainly not what we are seeing and hearing on TV and social media. What is it then? Is it our hard-wired instincts that needs to be part of a tribe? Is it our reptilian part of the brain that needs something to direct our fears toward, our amygdala that needs something solid and concrete to fear? Is it because we can’t handle fear, that feeling that we are not control? And so, we target someone or something to feel in control, to bring order into the world?

 

Having that said, think about it, is spewing our anger and spitting at someone the ideal way to enlighten them? Do we really think we’re going to create change this way? Is this an approach you would recommended to a teacher of young children? Is it how we should raise our misguided, troubled kids, beating some sense into them?

 

I find it short-sighted when I see a post on social media like “Don’t be a racist” or  “Stop being a hater,” as if someone is going to read it and say “oh, they’re right, I need to stop being a hater and a racist.” People don’t change that easily, especially when they being told to do so. Problem is, few dare to consider or try to understand their opponents view. Few are tolerant enough to embrace the differences of others. This is today’s climate. And the media is manipulating and controlling it all. Intolerance, vitriol, aggression, this is what we are being sold to believe will bring about change. They’ve got us fearful and angry. They are, of course, misinforming and misguiding us.

 

When people experience fear, uncertainty, high anxiety—they act out, and usually in aggressive and harmful ways. There are a lot people right now who are afraid. The virus pandemic and civil unrest have been rattling many people. And so, our tendency is to act out, although most of us don’t see it that way. Fear is kicking our butts, but we don’t see it. We think it’s anger, but it’s fear. Where there is fear, there is a need to direct it somewhere, and we do so by way of aggression. Most people don’t know how to handle fear, so they go to anger. And that is why we are seeing so much aggression on social media and on TV, and violence in the streets. The media knows that bad news sells. And they are selling us a bill of goods. Which is why, today more than ever, we should do the research, look at the data, seek the facts, and not rely solely on the media.

 

Just as importantly, we need to do the inside work. Our fears, anger, wanting things our way, our playing God fundamentally, and our suffering, is an inside job. Think about it, how much of our impatience and judgments are based on our state of being, our mood, our anxiety levels, our happiness. It’s interesting how patient we become when we’re riding high on some achievement or new love interest. It’s funny how easily things roll off us when our week is going well and we are feeling good. Nothing on the outside has changed. The virus is still in the air. People are still protesting in the streets. Same cranky boss. Same difficult whiny friend complaining about his luxury problems. But today, being life is good, we are suddenly more tolerant and understanding.

 

We need to step back from the madness. We need to breath in and breath out slowly and calm down. The stress, the anxiety, the anger is killing us. We need to pray, we need to meditate, we need to love our brothers and sisters. Or at least try to cooperate with them and find some compromise. We all want to be happy, we all have that in common.

 

Well, enough out of me. I hope at the very least that I leave you with some food for thought.

 

As always, thank you for listening. If you like this podcast and what you heard, please Subscribe to it and Share it with others.

 

 

1)    Unknown.

 

I strongly encourage my readers to share their thoughts and add to the conversation. Don’t be shy, leave your comments below. 

 

 

 

 

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