Before we dive into this little whirlwind of love, hate furry and passion, can I make one basic request as well as one promise?
Request: That you will read this to the end and only stop because of a time constraint not because you can't stomach any of the content.
Promise: That I am in no means trying to convert you or change your beliefs, stances and/or truths but instead the means, the methods to which you get to those oh so valuable beliefs stances, and/or truths.
Here we go :).
I'm a bit left. Actually let's be serious I'm way further left than most people would be comfortable with, or maybe people from the USA. Left like Socialist, I'm not talking about an Obama socialist or any other American Socialist. We're so centric in the States it's not even funny especially in comparison to the rest of the political world. As it's said, some people's heroes are others terrorists... there's a high possibility that this is true in my case…but that soap box is for another day.
Like I said, I'm not going for converting minds over to my side. The big thing I want to express here is not politics, economic theories, or ideologies.
It's your blood pressure. Yeah your heart rate, that's what I want to talk about.
Can I make a few assumptions right quick? Sorry to over generalize, but we are usually extremely passionate and pretty well set in our thoughts. Politics is one of those lovely dichotomizing thoughts, along with light and fluffy topics like sexual preference, religion, abortion, gun rights etc., that should never be brought up around the table where varieties may exist, which is why homo tables are the best, homogeneous in thought that is :).
Get to the point Tracey, get to the point already.
Everything is set in stone. We have our "TRUTH" and there is no altering, enlightenment, humanizing. We're on autopilot. And when I say we, I really mean me.
If you asked about a year ago, I would have probably said yeah, I'm a very open minded guy, but some interesting moments have made me realize the contrary.
So I found this magazine, Letras Libres. It's by far my favorite read, a Mexican magazine and for any Spanish speakers out there, an absolute must read. Check out their website, seriously it's some incredible writing. I always pinned the magazine as left and so I expected left ideas, left advice, left critique. As I'm reading this one particular article on gun violence and firearms in the US, and of course I’m expecting a left tone, left ideas, left advice, I'm thrown for a loop. The criticisms aren't only not pro-left, but much more pro-right and yet I felt in agreement with much of what was stated. Who let this filth in my magazine of my views and why is it making some sense?
Another moment: One of the guys I'm disciplining/mentoring at the church were chatting it up one day. Not sure how it came up, we start talking about the Right-wing dictatorship of the 70s and 80s in Chile. This as well could be another whole blog with branches of thought to get lost in, but let's not go there, at least not right now. You can imagine where my stance is on this. His stance and his family stance on the other hand are completely different. Did I say that I really look up to this young guy? Because I do. I admire even more his mom and dad who are pillars in our Church. So he explains a bit of his point of view and then says he's going to bring me a book. This book, El Día Decisivo, is the voice of Pinochet, the dictator. Just to give you a taste of what went on, thousands of people were disappeared, concentration camps, torture, hundreds of people tossed to their Pacific graves with railroad beams solidifying their eternal silencing... Well I just finished reading El Día Decisivo. Very very interesting, yes a lot of lies were presented as truth, and again, we don't have time to truly unfold this monster completely. By no means did it validate or justify his actions. No, my basic ideas didn't change, but this bit of my understanding has grown. This man that I once saw as pure evil did at one point seem to have his ducks in a row, very human like, a dad who loved his little girls just like I love my little guy.
What if I could be wrong about my understanding, my side of the reinforced chasm of you and me, us and them?
What if I only feed my thoughts with things, people, article and podcasts that are going to embed my own thoughts that much deeper?
What if I never dare to step out on one of those oh so shunned and looked down upon slippery slopes where answers don't look scantron-ish (remember, those rectangular strips that we took all our major tests on in high school, where the only answers are A. B. C. or D.), but rather complex, difficult and did I say complex?
What if our societies become so entrenched in our ideologies and passions that growth is stunted and we digress all the while thinking we have made great strides by holding strong to our one sidedness?
What if you believe you have one absolute truth and see that as a pass to put everything else in absolute truths as well?
What if we're wrong, you can read into how you like, but what if I am wrong and all non-my thoughts fall on deaf ears, my deaf ears?
There's this verse in the Bible that says I, since I'm a follower of Christ, should be quick to listen, slow anger and slow to speak. My goodness have I ever twisted and contorted that. Yeah, I'll listen to and contemplate over someone else’s opinion, as long as I’ve already filtered all the nonsense out, which leaves me in a nice, neat, non-complex box of mirrors.
So what’s my plan of action to change my ways? I'm trying to listen and not just the "physical listening" but truly opening my mind to perspectives and ideas that I have often discarded, with much rage and fury at times, that didn't square with me.
In moments, days and years to come I want to –
- be intentional about the increasing the variety of inputs that I'm pouring into my noggin’ (No, this doesn't mean I'm listening to everything but that I'm asking myself, are my inputs truly diversified and enriching my thoughts or simply demonizing the other side while glorifying mine?)
- not have dialogues, days and relationships based off of how right I might be, but rather start with the question, "Is there any itsy-bitsy way in which I could be wrong?
- be quick to listen, slow to anger and really slow to speak.
We’ll see how it goes.