We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.”
– Alan Watts
I’ve been thinking about how in our day and age it seems that facts and what is real has become a matter of opinion, and opinions seem to be emanating from totally different worlds. This makes it very difficult to truly communicate with one another, but not impossible. People may argue about whether something is true, and will present their articles and tidbits of information to backup their claims. And this is a clue about where our disconnect is taking place, yet it is also a clue into how we might find common ground if we are willing to see others at a level deeper than only information.
Everything which creates our perception and experience may well be said to be called information. If you smash your toe on the door, information tells your brain that there is pain shooting from your foot. Everything we learn from our senses is information. Everything we’ve experienced from relationships is information. How we were raised religiously, politically and economically, is information. We may have grown out of some beliefs we had as a child and youth, yet our changes also derive from new information we learned from new and different sources, often because of professional or social groups which we wanted to be accepted by. Our need for acceptance is a great motivator for being more susceptible to accepting information with which we are presented.
So, at least for me, when I understand that what another person thins and believes comes from the information which they had been exposed to, and accepted due to understandable reasons, I feel able to accept anyone, no matter what they believe, simply for their humanity. Simply because they are a marvel which has the gift of life coursing through their veins, they are allotted my respect. And with respect, we are able to begin a conversation that may lead to productive means towards a more peaceful culmination.