Whew! What a week, folks. There’s a lot going on in our world, to say the least, and I hope that you’re taking the time to listen and learn about what it means to be anti-racist and pro-justice. Today’s writer, Paul Castillo, invites you to listen to bigger thoughts of disagreement – after all, is it healthy to be in an environment where no one ever disagrees? I think not. Proceeds from today’s post go toward RAICES.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Is starting with a quote by Abraham Lincoln a bit dramatic? I bring this up because there seems to be a deepening divide in our country. And it is weighing on my heart because it seems it is becoming deeply irreversible. Last year it would not have crossed many of our minds that we would be living in such unprecedented and historic times. The world is in a state of disarray and normal life has seemingly come to a halt. There is plenty of uncertainty and polarized opinions on how to best continue forward. I wish I was a great philosopher or had great words and wisdom to help heal the nation and to bring people together. But I will humbly share the words and wisdom I do know.
There was a phase in my life where I got into TedTalks and listened to quite a few. Yet non stick out as much as my favorite talk called, “The Danger of a Single Story.” It is by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and she really does a wonderful job. I know I am probably a stranger to most of you reading this but trust me when I say watch this for yourself. Treat yourself if you will. This talk addresses how we can make judgments of people based on limited or faulty knowledge. It challenges the listener to think about their knowledge and the assumptions they make based on that knowledge. It helps offer an escape from falling into the trap of echo-chamber thinking.
Something this talk makes me ponder is if it is healthy to be in an environment where no one ever disagrees?
Growing up I loved grabbing the comics section from the Sunday newspaper every week. That is probably one of the reasons I am still partial to them to this day. There is a site called The Oatmeal that has some great comics. One such comic is called “You’re not going to believe what I tell you.” There are multiple quality comics to peruse but I definitely recommend checking this one out. This comic helped me realize how stubborn we humans can be. That it can be hard for us to change our minds even if given new evidence. In fact it is hard for me to remember the last time I changed my mind on something.
It is amazing how the internet is full of so many experts. At least in their own eyes. Or maybe it is just the Dunning-Kruger Effect. This refers to someone who has very little experience (see non-expert) but has high levels of confidence. Does someone come to mind? This is often attributed to a false sense of confidence since a non-expert does not know how much they don’t actually know. Kind of the opposite wisdom of Socrates. Sounds like he was on to something.
Or as Charles Bukowski is so elegantly attributed to saying, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
Benjamin Franklin offered excellent advice when he said instead of fighting over who is right or wrong we should join together on a journey to the truth. So I plead to anyone reading this let’s start journeys instead of fights. Challenge yourself to new sources of information even if it challenges your beliefs. Be open to new knowledge. And that the person talking the loudest may not be looking out for their own good.
I don’t have all the answers but I ask you the reader to consider these ideas and when possible to listen.
Paul J. Castillo Jr. comes from a family of educators residing in California’s Central Valley. He is happily married to a wonderful teacher and together they are working to better their community. He enjoys humor, Sci-Fi, and is an ardent supporter of underdogs everywhere. You can connect with him on Twitter.