Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ask some questions

On Tuesday we talked about the divisiveness in our society—and about how we might find common ground. We asked the Rodney King question: "Can we all get along?"

If we are to begin with ourselves in this endeavor, it means that we need to engage in some critical thinking about what we read and hear. We need to ask some hard questions about what others present as facts. Are there really only two diametrically opposed sides to an issue? Might there be a continuum of thought about any given issue? Might the writer or speaker have a high investment in their viewpoint or take on the issue? Do other people have a huge investment in it to the degree that they might be spending money to get that view out there? It's always good to ask who benefits from a particular story being told. Who wins and who loses? Do some fact checking and ask some questions.

We all like to hear things that are compatible with our own dearly held viewpoints. But it's good to at least hear—and try to be open to—other viewpoints as well. Even if you don't change your mind, you might gain some understanding of how the other arrives at her or his conclusion. That's worth something right there. 

This applies to our family and friendship relations as well. If your partner holds a strong viewpoint completely opposite of what you feel, can you see a continuum of thought between the two of you that might allow you to move closer to each other? Can you indeed find common ground? It's a worthy goal. And it's the start of building a more peaceful, thoughtful community and society.

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