No, we don’t have to agree on everything.

The TL;DR for the inherently lazy:

  • Just because I may disagree with you doesn’t mean I don’t agree with you elsewhere
  • Stop thinking you are right about everything. You are probably wrong a lot, too.
  • If you find yourself thinking just like everyone else, you are doing something wrong.
  • It is easier to block someone than it is to discuss something or have to think (does not apply to trolls). Stop being lazy. Censorship is for the weak.

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

-Freidrich Nietzsche

As we are a tribal species, people most often gravitate toward other individuals and groups that exhibit commonalities. This helps us form bonds and stronger group units, which will subsequently enhance our rates of survival. It’s evolutionary. We seek out that in which we can fit, belong. We also feel more comfortable around others who are like us. It is only natural. If a group does not exist that fits our needs, we contrive one.

This was also a lot easier and less noticeable in the days before the internet. Now that social media flourishes, people are finding themselves among a wider variety of cultures, belief systems, etc. It is easier to stumble upon an individual or group you might not otherwise have come into contact with before.

It is more likely now that you will encounter people you disagree with, and who disagree with you in return.

Because of our tendency to seek out the comfort of our own tribe, it is tempting to view anyone who thinks differently as an outsider. This gives the illusion that they are a threat or an enemy. Some of them may be just that, but a large mistake lies in mass-categorizing everyone unlike you into that category. It is folly to think that anyone who holds a different viewpoint as being a threat or an enemy. Here’s why:

The biggest reason it is foolish to only associate with like-minded people is that no two people will ever think alike on everything. It is simply not possible. Even the closest friends in the world will have things they like that the other doesn’t, and they won’t agree on everything. That is reality. If we ostracized everyone who disagreed, we would have no friends. If I block everyone who didn’t think like me, I would be alone in this world. Nobody else thinks just like I do, and that’s a good thing. If you find yourself thinking the same as everyone else, you might want to pause and reflect. Why is it you don’t disagree with your peers on anything? Are you afraid? The same thing applies if you are typically filling the role of idea generator. If you only surround yourself with those who agree with your points, are you really learning anything?

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.

– Thomas Jefferson

And yet, so many people will unfriend or block someone else who simply believes something different or disagrees on some issue. I have personally been blocked from a number of groups and pages on social media for simply questioning something. That’s because it is easier to block someone than have to think or have an actual discussion. Censorship is a tool of the lazy. Blocking is most apparent with pages that belong to a single individual. They want to preach, not discuss. They don’t want to learn new angles or information. They want to be validated by others who will agree with them. It can happen with groupthink as well, though. Either way, suppression is a tool of the weak.

People who preach, as opposed to discussing a topic, are more concerned with personal validation – the rush they get from having others agree with everything they say – than they are with learning or seeking the real truth.

The other mistake we make, as humans, is to ostracize those we disagree with on some issues, which means we never get to experience other sides of them where we might find common ground. Because division is probably the biggest problem facing this country (USA), it is important to change the culture from divisiveness to one of unity. So instead of dismissing others who express a different view, we need to remember that not everyone is going to think exactly like us. Our best friends don’t even agree with us on everything.

The final point I would like to illustrate here today is that it is tempting to assume everyone else is wrong if it doesn’t make sense or doesn’t align with what we know or believe on a subject. That is ridiculous when you stop to think about it. What are the actual odds that you are right on every single thing? Yet everyone is so cock-sure of themselves that anyone who thinks otherwise must be a “fucking moron” or “insane.” This is most evident with political parties. The other side is always wrong. It just has to be.

Stop thinking everyone else is wrong. You might be the one who is wrong.

Amplify your likelihood of being wrong by your unwillingness to see the other side of a situation or consider new facts or evidence that is contrary to your position. Imagine if you went to court and the judge would only hear the opposing side’s evidence and argument. Would you get a fair trial? No, you would most certainly not.

So, to conclude: consider that you might also be wrong, and don’t dismiss someone who thinks differently than you on something, because you probably have more in common with them than you think. Strive for unity, rather than division. You’ll actually learn more and grow more as a person if you surround yourself with people of varying faiths and philosophies than you will if you only associate with those who are just like you.

Exercise:

Comment below on something you were wrong about.

 

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4 comments on “No, we don’t have to agree on everything.

  1. Years ago, I proclaimed that I would NEVER get a tattoo. I was opposed to marking my body in such a way then, low and behold, I changed my mind. I changed my perspective. I now have one. What we believe today, we may not believe tomorrow. It’s always best to keep the mind open and welcome a change of mind and a change of perspective. Always welcome other ways of thinking.

    Like

    • Wonderful example! I once read that the hallmark of a fool is a mind that never changes, so changing your perspective on getting a tattoo – being open to new thoughts and experiences – demonstrates that you are open to growing as a human being. Let me guess…you are probably an empathetic person as well?

      Like

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