Wisdom Begins When You Ask This One Question
Create a better world through curiosity, not judgment
A friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook recently, mocking people with different beliefs than his. I was disappointed but not surprised. This happens when you believe you are right — to support your position further, others who differ with you have to be wrong.
And it’s much easier to do when your beliefs are the same as a larger group because you’ve got the majority standing with you—power in numbers. Groupthink. It’s easy to criticize others when you feel little risk of retaliation.
Social bullying is wrong, harmful, and divisive.
But the perpetrator feels justified because they believe their point of view is the only possible way. They want to promote their beliefs at any cost, even if it means labeling, criticizing, and judging others.
This social phenomenon is not dissimilar to the influence of the Catholic Church in medieval times. During this age of intellectual darkness, religious dogma dictated how people should think and behave. Anyone disagreeing was labeled a heretic and either rehabilitated, persecuted, or killed. The Salem witch trials in 1692 are another example where fear of the unknown, fueled by mass hysteria, led to the persecution and death of innocent men and women.
These may seem like extreme examples, but they all share a common root system: the willingness to impose opinions on others and punish them for not getting in line with the accepted narrative.
We don’t need more of this right now. We need less, much less because we’re living in unprecedented, highly stressful times. But we all share a common goal: getting through this safely and building a better, kinder, and more inclusive world.
When we’re ridiculed or persecuted for how we look, think, or behave, we go silent or dig in more and resist. Either way, the chance for open and honest dialogue decreases as people further solidify their positions, while the gap between them grows wider and deeper. The bigger the gap, the easier it is to argue. But nobody wins an argument — there are only losers.