grayecam (grayecam) wrote in evil_trepannys,
grayecam
grayecam
evil_trepannys

Why is it so hard to just accept the differences?

Ok, I finally have a question for debate that might be appropriate to post here.

I've noticed recently that people, both online and in real-life, have a hard time accepting that not everyone thinks the same way they do. Why is it so incredibly hard to just accept that and move on? I mean, just because someone might believe differently politically, religiously, or otherwise than you do, does that make them a bad person? And is it necessary to insult or harass them about those differences.

Thinking of the most simplistic example here:

Two people are at a party. The conversation goes to school and children. One person says "My children are responsible for their own homework. I ask if they've done it, and if they say yes, I trust them.If I get a note home, or they receive bad marks on their report cards, then we deal with it."

So the second parent doesn't agree with this method. They check after their children every night to make sure homework has been completed and is correct. Ok that's a different way of doing things and neither one is the absolute correct or incorrect way to do things, right?

But then the second parent says "I think parents who don't check their kids homework are irresponsible."

Am I wrong in thinking that the second parent has in effect, just insulted the first parent?

This is just an example, it could apply to any little or big thing, like democrats and republicans, or Christian and pagans, or putting clothes away straight out of the dryer and not doing it until you need it.

Why is it so hard to say, hey, she thinks differently, and I think *I* am right, but that doesn't mean she's an awful person or that I have to hate her or insult her. I mean, is it so hard to just think someone is wrong about something but keep it to yourself?
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  • 25 comments
Sometimes the differences are very extreme. Sometimes their views are so extreme, or totally different from yours, or just plain irrational. And sometimes a difference of view turns into insulting unrelated things.
I understand, but does it matter?

If someone says "I believe in dragons" then is it necessary to say "I think people who believe in dragons are delusional?"

I mean, you might think it, and even say "I disagree' but is throwing the delusional comment out there REALLY necessary? You may think you are right, and you might be, but is that a reason to try to belittle someone else?
But who decides what is irrational? Just because *you* feel it is irrational, doesn't mean it is. I think that is Grayecam's point. Even if you think it is irrational, or extreme, doesn't make it wrong for the person who has that point of view.
Yes! Thank you, exactly!

Just because it isn't right to you, doesn't mean that it isn't right for someone else, and why does that make someone feel the need to insult or hurt others feelings?
I agree to a point, but it's not true that all opinions are equally valid and all choices are OK.

It may not be necessary to *say* that people who believe in dragons are delusional, but in some cases it may actually be more helpful to educate someone (not in a belittling way, obviously) than to confuse his right to an opinion with the idea that his opinion is valid.

Whether dragons exist isn't a "point of view." The onus is on him to show me a dragon.
But who decides what opinions are valid and which choices are okay? Its like censorship, who decides what should be censored? There is no *right* answer to most moral/ethical/religious questions. There is no black and white. There are only shades of gray. And to tell someone "your opinion/choice is wrong" *is* rude.
But who decides what opinions are valid and which choices are okay? Its like censorship, who decides what should be censored? There is no *right* answer to most moral/ethical/religious questions. There is no black and white. There are only shades of gray. And to tell someone "your opinion/choice is wrong" *is* rude.

Yes and no. There may be no right answer to *most* ethical questions, but yes, there *is* some black and white. Or do you think that it's OK to discipline babies by smashing them against a wall if they cry too long? If not, aren't you censoring the parents' right to decide what's best for their own children?

Yes, people are allowed their opinions. They are even allowed wrong, stupid opinions. Yes, it's rude to tell them that their opinions are wrong and stupid. But that doesn't make their opinions less wrong and stupid.

And yes, some opinions really are wrong and stupid: bigotry, chauvinism, and most of the opinions held by Art Bell's callers.

If you insist that the Internet works because of the power generated by hamsters running on wheels, or that your brother-in-law is a were-unicorn, is that just as valid as my opinion that anyone who believes that could benefit from therapy and possibly strong meds?

If you're entitled to whatever opinions you want, then aren't I entitled to my opinion that you're wrong?

Who decides? Society as a whole has decided that no, you can't smash babies against walls, steal, kill, drink alcohol under a certain age, use heroin, or drive without wearing a seatbelt.

Saying that the onus is on you to prove that unicorns exist isn't the same thing as insisting that my religion, political party, and favorite TV show are the only possible choices that an intelligent person could choose.

rleyser

11 years ago

I forgot to say...

rleyser

11 years ago

grayecam

11 years ago

rleyser

11 years ago

likesrabbits

11 years ago

rleyser

11 years ago

likesrabbits

11 years ago

rleyser

11 years ago

commanderd

11 years ago

Maybe the dragon example isn't the best one. I was thinking of a show I watched on the history channel about how the few folks who believe Atlantis existed are pretty much considered crackpots by the rest of the scientific and archeology community.

I'm basically talking about things that ARE only opinions and choices, and the intolerance of people with different views. rleyser actually stated it very well. Who's to say who's right and who's wrong and why is it so offensive for someone to have a different view that one has to attempt to chop their view in little pieces and deem them unacceptable in some way.

Intolerance, that's the word I've been looking for. Why has society become so intolerant of people who don't think just like them?

I do see your point that there are some things that are very black and white. But then again, some things that seem that way to us aren't necessarily the same to others, if they've grown up in a different sort of culture. Lots of people in China abandon their baby girls, or put them up for adoption, for no reason other than they want boys. I personally find it a horrible practice, but obviously it's acceptable to them or else it wouldn't be so common.
"Why has society become so intolerant of people who don't think just like them?"

Society has always been that way. It isn't something new. We just know more about it now in this age of instant communication.
The dragon example doesn't work, because it confuses several issues. There is, to my mind, a huge difference between people who think that gravity doesn't exist, and people who believe in a religion that I don't.

On second thought, maybe it's not really that big a difference. But I'd prefer not to drive over bridges built by anyone in the first group.

OK, maybe that's it: I don't care what people believe unless their beliefs affect *my* (perceived) right to be left alone by such people.

Why has society become so intolerant of people who don't think just like them?

The usual reason is that people who aren't secure in their own beliefs/lifestyles see differing opinions and lifestyles are a threat: down deep they need the afirmation, or they'd have to face the possibilty that they might be wrong. That would make their heads explode.

But lately, I think that talk radio is stirring things up. The Other Side doesn't mean well but with differing methods, they are (depending on your pov) either evil liars or terrorists. There's less room to compromise with an Evil Liar or a Terrorist.

But then again, some things that seem that way to us aren't necessarily the same to others, if they've grown up in a different sort of culture. Lots of people in China abandon their baby girls, or put them up for adoption, for no reason other than they want boys. I personally find it a horrible practice, but obviously it's acceptable to them or else it wouldn't be so common.

I'm going to disagree. Even though I'm the one who said that culture decides what's acceptible, it's not foolproof. Some things are wrong, even if they're accepted in that culture. Was slavery OK? Aparteid? Genital mutilation? The way women are treated in the taliban?

People are fallible.
There are always differences of opinion based upon each person's perspective. This is why I do not believe in absolute morals because everything is filtered via our own perceptions. Ask two people about one event and you will get two different versions.

In the extreme cases though, those different versions are so totally uncomplimentary that the two people feel the need to call the other version "wrong" or "completely wrong", when in fact they are nothing of the sort.

It is a hallmark of some closeted mindsets that "different" will always equal "wrong" and they may feel the need to try and persuade the other person that they are right, or in really extreme cases, insult the other person's viewpoint.

As to why, I don't know. I've been on the recieving end of intolerance more times than I can count and it really is a waste of my time and energy to try and make someone who has made up their mind that I am wrong think any other way.

So, I continue with my life and my choices, secure in the knowledge that no matter what another person thinks about me, I know I did the right thing based upon my perceptions. And at least I didn't try to convert others.
I don't understand why it has to be such a big deal. I know of two people in RL, and one online, right off hand, that I disagree with about most 'debate' topics. But I don't feel the need to insult them about our differences and I actually like all three of them and think they like me. There are other qualities to someone worth knowing besides the points you disagree on.
Why are some people bigots? Why are some people narrow-minded? These are questions that will likely never be answered.
Well, it's not so much the bigotry that I'm talking about (although I do disagree with it strongly) but the need of the bigot to call someone who is not a bigot a nasty name-we all know what sort of names I'm talking about. I mean, is the non-bigot in some way hurting the bigot?

commanderd

11 years ago

I think what happens usually is person A says "I do X" and person B says "I do Y" which makes person A feel insecure about doing X, even if person B hasn't said anything at all rude.

I haven't heard a lot of people actually telling others: "I think people who makes other choices suck". I have seen a lot of conversations deteriorate because people couldn't accept that difference doesn't have to mean that one way is wrong.