Tag Archives: Tolerance

Irrational Fear Will Be Our Undoing

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Most people love a label. We like to compartmentalise everything. We pop ‘it’ in its box and we feel secure in the knowledge that we now know exactly what ‘it’ now is. We don’t get it back out of the box for another look very often once it has been given its label either. We can now judge it, worship it, revile it, discredit it or love it and it is okay because we have labelled it, we know what ‘it’ is and our minds are set.

With every new report of imminent war, fingers on triggers and terror attacks we all slowly go into ourselves with fear and start pointing the finger of blame on to unseen populations. We accuse whole groups of hiding those who would harm us. Every person who has the same ethnicity will be looked upon with suspicion. We can’t continue to do this to ourselves.

Wars are started and fought over this labelling habit. Communities are split. We judge on appearances or personal preferences far too quickly when, in fact, everybody is different regardless of their skin colour, religion or sexual preference. Deep down we all know that but it is fear which can stop us from being rational about it.

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This mass labelling has resulted in groups of people and their religion being accused of the same crimes as other people who have committed them and belong to the same religious or ethnic group. This is led by fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of the hidden. Unknown because it is assumed all those people are dangerous terrorists and hidden because people think these terrorists are everywhere. Of course, this is ideal for the actual terrorists because not only does it make them look as if they are everywhere and all-powerful, it also stirs up bad feeling between innocent parties and their accusers and leads more of the innocent on the path of resentment, thereby giving fresh meat to the terrorists.

It’s a nasty, vicious cycle which only gives power away.

A habit like this is not a new thing. Those whose countries have fought others in bloody battles in the past century or so are brought up to remember those battles and the atrocities acted out by the losing side through education in schools. This helps us remember those who suffered and died for us and to also make sure we remember never to do certain things ourselves again but it also reinforces we should be afraid of that culture or blame the people still alive in the next generation for what their ancestors did. A further note on this would be for us to remember it was the government of the country who caused the war not the civilians themselves. A few people, deciding for all.

We need to remember that there is hardly a country on this planet which has led a blameless existence when it comes to warmongering and war-related atrocities. None of our leaders are above reproach and none of them made war with others just for the good of the people.

As citizens of those countries, do we take the actions of our past leaders and feel the guilt of those deeds ourselves, personally, every single day? Of course not. Yet we can often look at someone else’s geographical location and presume them evil. Hmm.

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It is what we do NOW which matters, folks! Don’t judge your neighbours and people you see in the street out of fear or conditioning. See them as the individuals they are and allow them the freedom to choose to live their own preferences, as long as it harms no other, without fear until that fear is earned and not merely speculated upon.

We must learn to accept one another if we are to save ourselves as a species.

There is nothing happy, clappy about that statement. The more we fight and the greedier we become then the more we fear and the more we misjudge and the greater the risk of our own extinction.

The change must start with us as individuals.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Tolerance

You may have a designated religion or you may be like me and have no named religion at all. I have happily taken techniques from many practices around the world and I have used them in my own work to enhance what I do and to support my own growth – emotionally and spiritually. It’s all part of the fun when you allow yourself to follow an eclectic path.

One major ideal it also allows me is a greater sense of tolerance to those who follow a different path to mine. This is because I follow no actual rule book. I am constantly learning new techniques and finding things which interest me so I have nothing in individual form to hold up and insist this is – The Only Way.

This is quite a healthy stance for me because it allows a spiritual growth in a way which suits me and my lifestyle.

Humans are notorious for wanting to follow the crowd. There is a lot to be said for it, after all. We can feel accepted, supported, valued, heard and completely right if we surround ourselves with people who agree with us. If we find someone we don’t agree with we can get our chums together and see who can shout the loudest. It is difficult for some to turn away from such acceptance.

Wouldn’t it be unstimulating if we all agreed, all of the time? What if we all wore the same clothes, day in and day out? Grey, dull, uninspiring. We have to start seeing our differences as a fresh influx of interest which stimulates and nourishes, not as direct attack on ourselves.

Are we so unsure of our beliefs that one person disagreeing with us can shake or move our stance  and make a difference to us as individuals?

And if not then what does it matter if they don’t do as we do?

Is our foundation that unsteady?

If it is then we need to start questioning whether those beliefs are our own or someone else’s we have just picked up. When our own country’s highest governing body (by its policies or representatives) implies certain behaviour is suddenly acceptable it will bring many people out of the woodwork who may, for social standing reasons, have hidden their true feelings on the matter beforehand. I am in the UK and our biggest problem has been issues regarding immigration. Ever since we voted to exit the European Union we seem to have brought some very odd folks to attention and given them a platform which they aren’t hesitating to use. Many countries are having similar problems with social regression. Radical political parties which would not have been acceptable before are finding themselves with more ears turned to their words.

Take racism. This is a difficult topic and will usually get hackles raised quite quickly. What makes one skin tone think they are better than another skin tone? The same formula that makes people who follow one religion feel they are superior to those who follow another, I suppose. The human need for superiority, conquest and control of the subservient. The fire-in-the-blood excitement when the prey has been cornered. Since humans began taking land from each other and trading human lives, there has been this need to be superior to another at any and all opportunity. How small we can be.

If we are to grow as a species we need to realise that working together makes society grow and ideas flourish. Progress can be made in areas which will benefit all. If we can’t get past separation and greed than any progress will only be in the world of corporate money, great if you have the right shares, I suppose…

The question we all have to ask ourselves is simply this:-

What does it matter if your neighbour chooses to walk a different path to you as long as they are not hurting anyone?

Diversity is actually a good thing. It brings fresh ideas, big questions and gets things done more quickly and efficently. We need access to a multitude of ideas where one team can learn from the other instead of holding back progress to try and be more powerful than other countries. This slows progress up for decades. Take the space race between the USA and the then USSR. Competition got things moving towards a common goal much faster than if there was no deadline. Think how quickly things would have been done if ideas, experiments and results had been shared between both countries? The International Space Station is a good example of what teamwork between nations can achieve in cooperation with each other.

Which way is better for mankind?

Which way is better for Earth itself?

Sharing is what will make us all strong and we will all need to be strong if we are to survive as a species. We must let go of greed and stop stockpiling food for so long it goes off. Australia and Norway are two countries I can think of offhand who have produced a surplus of free power through clean energy means. There is enough of everything we need to survive – everything except tolerance and acceptance and they are our failings, not the failings of Mother Earth.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.