The impossible conversation
Photo by Arne Beck
How can we even begin to solve our problems when our conversations about them keep breaking down or are non-existent?
We live in polarized times. Environments that cultivate group thinking grow ever more self-righteous and entrenched in the views of their tribe. It seems impossible to have a reasonable conversation with anyone who has a different opinion, and questioning the validity of reason within one’s own group can lead to ostracism or self-censorship. Every kind of diversity is welcome except for the diversity of opinion and whether it be an institution, political party or a cultural movement, this misguided desire for group harmony will ultimately lead to irrational or dysfunctional decision-making.
The solution lies in open and honest conversations with a genuine curiosity and willingness to listen to other points of view; dialogues where the search for truth, or revision of beliefs, takes precedence over group allegiance, economic interest or misguided pride. This is easier said than done and may be beyond the ability of the most extreme segments of society. So, it is up to the rest of us, (which is also most of us), to meet and speak with mutual respect and curiosity. Nevertheless, society is a reflection of our collective selves. If we desire change in the world, it has to start with us all taking a good look in the mirror and at our egos. Are you capable of having an impossible conversation?