Coexistence is important

"To Exist," from Everything Dies

Box Brown has a really well-done new comic up at Everything Dies about “Coexist” bumper stickers. They still give me a sort of icky feeling, because “let’s all get along” seems in many people’s minds to preclude the option to tell others they might be incorrect, but reading through this reminded me why I used to be more gung-ho about the tolerance approach.

I have to remember that not everyone is engaging in this dialogue on the same plane as I am. For many people, it’s not even about conversation and dissent yet. “Let’s all allow each other to live in peace despite our differences” is still a controversial position to them — but that’s a position I stand firmly behind. Coexistence is a very basic principle. We can coexist and still disagree, and still talk about our disagreement. We can work together toward finding the right answers to our questions, even if we’d each put our money on different outcomes.

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  1. When asked If I agree that such diverse worldviews can coexist, my standard response is always this:

    “Only if all parties agree on education instead of indoctrination, conversation instead of debate, factual information instead of propaganda, reasoned thinking instead of emotional appeals, and being honest, sincere and respectful of everyone you encounter, no matter what they think of you or your opinions.

    If that is considered tolerance, so be it. But the problems that I usually encounter and try to shed light on concern methods of indoctrination, poor debating skills, lessons in propaganda, emotional pleas, dishonesty, and insincere or disrespectful dialog from those with contrasting opinions from mine.

    The conflict arises whenever noses get rubbed in their faults and fallacies and tempers begin to flare. With loads of arrogance instead of humility and inherited positions devoid of facts, our coexistence is in jeopardy.

    There are too many closed minds out there just talking past each other. Not enough questions being asked. Especially the forbidden questions.

  2. grizzlybaker

     /  November 24, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    This is from the Toronto Star, as spoken by Penn Jillette, the loquacious member of Penn & Teller I think he gets what you are saying:

    “There’s a big difference between tolerance and respect. Tolerance is you saying something crazy and me smiling and saying ‘that’s nice.’ Respect is when you say something crazy and I say ‘you’re out of your f—ing mind.’ Direct confrontation, direct conversation is real respect. And it’s amazing how many people get that.”

  3. Very important topic. Related to the whole “don’t be a dick” debate.
    @grizzlybaker – I LOVE that Jillette quote.
    Yah, seems to me that people mistake deference for respect. It also seems to me that people are just too sensitive. “Make nice, don’t fight.” Um, when has social progress been made without some sort of struggle? “Fight nice” would be better, if nice meant “eviscerate bogus ideas, not people.”

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