Tolerance, Not what you think it means

Gary, davis, reverberation, wilhelm, friedrich, hamlet, thesis, antithesis, tolerance


Georg W
ilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German born 19th Century philosopher who speculated on the nature of Being and Nothingness (“To Be or Not To Be…? Hamlet?). He concluded that for every thesis, a statement about some idea, there is an opposing antithesis, an opposing idea. These two opposing positions would battle it out and result, most of the time, in a synthesis of the two. Hegel used this formulation only once, but it formed the basis for many of his subsequent hypotheses.

So today, 200 years on, what does this have to do with anything?!?

In these last few weeks/months/years our society has become so reactionary that people are neglecting the common courtesy of thinking before they act. Too many of us are jus’ letting” it all hang out, blowing up, accusing each other, not even listening to the other group’s full thesis. Thus do tempers Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel  1770 - 1831  flare, stereotypes flourish, and a kind of seething hatred takes over, further widening the gap between people and positions. Winning is all that matters. Being right. It’s always tit for tat: thesis vs. antithesis. We never seem to grow into a synthesis beyond all our posturing.

The recent Supreme Court rulings for gay-marriages, Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn Jenner, and our President striking a nuclear pact with Iran, Confederate Flag waving, have all contributed to the further polarization of the Left & the Right, Conservative vs. Liberal, Bible Belt/Wheat Belt vs. East/West Coasts & our larger cities. E pluribus unum still means Out of many, One; but we are hardly definable by that precept any longer

It would be more accurate to admit that we are a nation of individualists, of special interest groups, of political parties & sub-parties, of religious and non-religious groups all seeking dominance in the dance of democracy. One group wins over another, then another group triumphs: thesis- anti-thesis; we never arrive at a synthesis for the common good.

It’s time we brought divergent groups, parties, & whoever to the table of human decency and admitted we live in a pluralistic society. We are bound together not to fight only for our own rights, but to fight for each other’s right to exist and to have a voice. We owe it to one another to learn NOT to tolerate one another, but to defend each other, to care about the prosperity and happiness of people who are not like us. We may not be “under God” any longer (probably never were), but at the very least we owe it to ourselves and to our children to work on a resolution to all the brawling for self-aggrandizing superiority.

IF we do not, this reactionary positioning will have reverberations well into many future generations.

Synthesis.

God help us all

  Gary

We the People…

Gary, Davis, Charleston, America, IndividualismThe Charleston murders last night are reflective of an America that has fallen deeply into the abyss of the rights of the individual to shape the core beliefs & common respect due us all. “We the people…, in order to form a more perfect union.” Has degenerated into “I will assert my rights, my values, my individual dominance, and my anger against anyone I chose…, screw you.”

 Following World War II (1945) America was so tired of war we simply withdrew from Korea and allowed the country to divide. (1952) We know how well that worked out. Through our war in Vietnam (‘60s-70s) we grew weary and skeptical that any war was worth entering. Then came the Gulf War followed by the War in Iraq, and finally our world-wide war against Terrorists and ISIS. According to my son-in-law, a military strategist, that is a Stage 1 war that can never be won, and will never be over.

The effect of this history has been that American individualism has focused on our own individual rights and a return to isolationism. We don’t want to get involved.

 It took almost 100 years following our Civil War for African Americans to be recognized as decent human beings. Our LGBTQ Americans fared much better in a mere 40 year struggle to gain national recognition.

 Why should we be surprised that a white supremacist attends a Wednesday Bible Study and murders nine African-Americans!?! His goal? “To reignite the race wars.” American individualism has supplanted any core value with the values of whatever fringe activist group seeks to assert over the common good. This is wrong on any moral, civil, and human decency level you can find throughout history.

 Which groups will face eradication next? My guess is any semblance of the Judean-Christian religious tradition. Religious types are a threat because they believe in an external reference point on which all human dignity and morality is based. They threaten those fringe philosophies that challenge the common core’s right to exist. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, are a threat to our nation and must be kept in check. There is no common decency, there is no moral code, there is no respect for “WE the people.. .”. There is only I.

 Thus, the murders in Charleston last night.

 And yes, I am mad that we have come to this.

 Dr. Gary Davis