Opposition often breeds conflict. Conflict arises from the incompatibility of two positions which can either both the false, both have aspects of falsity, or one is false and the other isn't. Ignorance of falsity keeps us attached to falsity while defending it as if it were truth.
Dualistic frameworks or models serve to contrast one thing from another, but they can sometimes keep us locked into seeing things as divided. Politics are stuck in the divide of the left and the right. There are many things apart from politics where we become identified and attached to various ideas and beliefs. Can opposing positions learn to let go of their attachments and really understand what is better?
In the political climate of "Black Lives Matter" and the Trump election, we see how much there is a breakdown in civility and an attack on freedom of speech. Despite wanting to talk to people on an opposing side, engaging in deeper, thoughtful and meaningful discussions has its challenges. There is a lot of tension and attachment keeping people from the opportunity to affect change in the right direction. Rachel Wahl of the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education is studying the conditions that promote a willingness to learn through dialog, and how dialog impacts activism.
Wahl has roundtable discussions where participants are grouped with people that hold different opposing beliefs. What are the factors that support or obstruct learning through dialog?
She has found that the political pressure of activism can sometimes be necessary for things to change, but it comes at the cost of dehumanizing those who are the targets of the activism. Feeling targeted or attacked makes people more likely to reject the information or message. Wahl recognizes the importance of inner work in order to create productive dialog.
Effective conversations require the inner self-control to be less reactive in the face of the discomfort and tension of confrontations. Rather than be so sure that we did the right thing, such as voting for Trump or Clinton, we can realize that we don't have anything to lose by talking with others in learning their values and considerations for why they did not do what we did. Overcoming our own discomfort and fear is important to deliberately learn about the other person.
Respect for each other can develop as we understand people's perceptions, such as learning of their good intentions or shared values. Much of the polarization in debates comes when we are personally affected by what others are trying to do, which is the case in politics and the police.
Regardless of the BLM activism, there is a lot of tension between police and various citizenry in many nations. When your livelihood is on the line, you're going to be more defensive about your actions. Being accused of corruption or abuse of power puts one into a defensive position where honest dialog often goes out the window. And when the rest of us have our lives on the line in dealing with people who have authority we don't -- who can can hurt us or lock us in cages -- dialog takes a hit as well.
In many situations of inequality and conflict that arises, asking people to learn about each other through dialog has risks, but also trade-offs of possible opportunities. Being asked to learn in these contexts is political because we are being asked to put aside our desire to politically influence others. Rather than be political first in the form of activism or other political tools, should first think of engaging in dialog. Consider if the risks of talking it out with an enemy outweighs the possible trade-offs and opportunities that might arise from resolving the conflict.
Resisting injustice and fighting against it is important, but we shouldn't be resistant to dialog in order to achieve a solution. Sometimes dialog doesn't work, in which case activism and more social pressure is required in order to effectuate the positive change desired. But always relying on political pressure to resolve a problem doesn't always work, as information is not shared and learning does not take place.
That's not to say that all political activism is legitimate or valid. Some arguments are only partially true and have some confusion or outright falsity mixed in which is one of the reasons why many political ideals fall flat on their face. Many people espousing certain political changes don't truly understand what they are talking about or trying to do. Sometimes people don't want to let go of their false arguments, and dialog ceases to become effective because they don't want to listen. They just want to hold onto whatever they want to believe in.
Are you more of a political activist, or communicator?
Do you charge into conflicts?
Do you engage in dialog and avoid conflict?
Do you succeed in dialog to avoid conflicts?
Are you able to realize when someone else doesn't want to learn about falsity, and just wants to stay attached to it?
Do you have a hard time letting go of trying to explain things to people who don't really want to understand?
Thank you for your time and attention. Peace.
If you appreciate and value the content, please consider:
Upvoting , Sharing or Reblogging below.