Learning to respect those we don’t understand



Someone correct me if I’m wrong, 8ut this is what I got from this awesome guy’s message and I think it’s the truest thing I’ve heard for a while.

It’s not so much that we learn to 8e less ignorant, since there will always 8e things we don’t know a8out other people. What matters more is that we respect other people in spite of our ignorance. ‘Cuz if we still hate what we don’t understand, in a world with more understanding, we will still hate what we understand least. Granted, more understanding can lead people to more often assume that people can 8e understood even when we don’t understand yet. 8ut that doesn’t change the fact that there is civility 8eyond understanding, 8eyond what we already know of a person.


I see this all the time in discussion 8oards and comment sections on news sites, YouTu8e, et al. It seems the most scathing thing people say to try to invalidate another person’s point is, “I can’t understand you,” meaning “You can’t 8e understood 8ecause the argument you’re trying to make is invalid.”

It’s a trap, really. It seems like there’s space to re8uff a viewpoint. 8ut what a person’s really done is they’ve closed their mind and only feigned an invitation to dialogue. If one responds 8y walking away, the first offender can call it a victory, that the other person has given up 8ecause they dou8t their own perspective. 8ut if one responds 8y trying to make their point intelligently, the first offender can say “I can’t understand” again.

In such a situation, I don’t think the second person can really win. They can, however, escape with minimum losses. In the same vein as “Don’t feed the troll,” the only way to “win” is to pick one’s 8attles wisely. To 8e present with love when hate 8ecomes too weak to feed the people who relied on it.

Chances are, you’re not exactly going to understand what motivates people to 8elieve what they 8elieve and 8e as hostile as they are towards you and what you 8elieve. 8ut no one really wins if we let that lack of understanding keep us from respecting each other. Unless, y’know, you just don’t give a damn a8out other people. Then I guess you win when you come out on top.

If that’s you, just to 8e clear, I disagree with you. 8ut you’re always welcome 8ack if you need anything.



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