Our life can be wonderful provided a few things work for us. I know those, a few things, seem impossible at times, and they are. We just try to make the best of our lives with whatever is given to us.
As I prepare for the Communal Dialogue on the midterm election, 2018, I agree with John McCain “We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates.” Indeed. Many voices, yes, it has always been; polarized voices, yes, it has always been.
The question is understanding why and what to do about it. A long time ago, I had a wonderful Jewish friend/mentor with a great sense of humor. “Two Jewish people come together and form three different parties.” In a way, it is the expression of great human spirit, but it is going to be difficult to get anything done. This probably applies to historical Korean politics. Come to think of it, most likely, all over the world. That is why there is this tolerance for dictators. Some one who could yell “shut up” and, if necessary, act with violence and even with ‘extreme prejudice.’ We don’t even have to go to Putin; the history is full of them.
All of us talk about current events with friends. Some occasions, it is better just listen because dialogue is impossible. Sometimes, the views/ the angles are different but the dialogue is exciting and stimulating and compelling. Why?
The Social Psychologist, Jonathan Haidt, has good theory on why the difference. His theory is understood and appreciated. Even though, there could be many different theories on Why, Haidt’s theory could be the workable one in explaining why the difference: basically, you are born with it.
The question remains: what to do about the differences/polarizations of ideologies. Whether you are born with a certain quality and aptitude/tendency or not, the level of understanding is very important in tempering your opinion/belief. One can argue that good understanding could enable making better argument for one’s position to win that particular debate. That one with great understanding could stay longing for a dictator with much better argument. Even, could win the debate of the moment.
We talk about 1st amendment, the freedom of speech, but it assumes a level of knowledge, understanding, integrity, dignity, pride, decency at the minimum on the part of the speaker. I don’t want to hear myself explaining how to design a computer software because I know nothing. I don’t understand software design. I tell myself I’ll teach myself, and it’s been more than 20 years. I need experts. My freedom of speech on software design is not desirable. I should keep quiet.
We all need experts. Understanding doesn’t come easy; it takes a lot of effort, painstaking efforts; takes time, much time, if it ever comes.
I’m not yet ready to hear my 3-year old grandson’s worldview. Be assured, I’ll be watching very closely how they develop and evolve.
With better understanding, we get better worldview. We become wiser with better understanding and that is the beginning of creating wise majority that can guide humanity toward better world.
You may say that that kind of better understanding happens only in an ideal world. So I say life could be wonderful provided a few things work for us, and we’re going to make sure that those a few things materialize.
글로벌웹진 NEWSROH 칼럼 ‘이명동의 세계인 한국인’