The other day I was lunching with friends from my teen years. A great deal of time had passed since our last visit and we were busy touching on all the craziness life had recently thrown at us. While everyone knows the danger topics, sometimes we feel secure in our history or past friendship to speak freely. This is why we unwittingly began discussing the political situation in the United States. Naturally it followed that someone made positive comments about their 45th president. A man my husband would refer to as the great orange baboon. Clearly he wasn’t a fan. Nor am I. The remarks brought me up short as my disgust for the president often spills over into judgement for his supporters. This puts me into an uncomfortable space. How can I be friends with someone who not only accepts this person but also praises him. I spent the next day feeling somewhat sad as so many emotions ran through me. I am used to being a tad different than my contemporaries so there was really no reason for my discomfort. Or was there.
Throughout the ages the world has been seen through a lens of two. Dual. Religion, philosophy, science, mathematics, nature, sociology, economics or just the universe in general. Day and night. Good and evil, Black and white. Up and down. Yin and yang. Yes and no. East and west. Mind and body. And on and on and on… Even accounting is based on a double entry system. Or computer programming broken down into binary. Basic on and off. So simple and yet not at all. The world as seen in opposite views. In everything that exists. Perhaps this is where I can start to understand my feelings.
In human behaviour so much of who we are and what we think say or do is genetic coding based on millions of years of evolution. More importantly to this discussion is how we are influenced by the society we live in today. I guess it all relates back to the discussion of nature versus nurture. When I speak of dualism I am referring more to the idea of society and the right/wrong attitudes. The evolution of our world and societal norms is fascinating. Often in discussions with people who have very strong feelings about any particular subject, I love to ask them why they feel how they feel. Where does the passion come from? Usually they are momentarily lost for words. It’s not easy to explain where your opinion comes from. It all comes down to information that we hear, read or see which our brains sift through at an incredible rate. We then discard what doesn’t fit our preconceived notions and hold onto the data which supports our chosen viewpoint. This has nothing to do with right or wrong. Opinions are formed. That being said, it can be argued that some opinions are more informed than others. A teacher friend once told me she always encouraged her preteen students to develop opinions. As long as they could back them up with facts. Right there she missed the mark. It’s an opinion. Now opinions that are well thought out and informed are less likely to be criticized. At least in the real world. The facebook world has brought about a new era of opinions. By way of sharing. Have we reached a point where we aren’t able to form and share our own opinions? Or are we afraid to let others know what we think? Perhaps a little of both but this is where dualism comes into the mix.
Every day we watch the news and see division in our world. Not just division but polarity. Our dualistic society with instant news and social media influences we have created a monster. No longer do we have varying opinions which are discussed as we banter about far out ideas. No, we now must defend our opinions. Hold them tight and trash on someone who dares to disagree. Tell them they are stupid. Call them names. All from the privacy behind our computer screens. Face to face we are a little more civilized although even that can go sideways fairly quickly. We were golfing once with a man who praised Mr. Trump and my response was that we were boycotting the U.S.until such a time as they had a new President. The escalation was something out of a book. He yelled. Berated me. Questioned my intelligence. When my husband stepped in to defend me, that sweet boy, he managed to calm the situation slightly. Whereupon the man promptly drove off in his golf cart and left the game. You see, in order for that fellow to be right, I had to be wrong. His views were so much a part of his identity that he couldn’t budge an inch. He was his opinions. They defined him. There was a time when these people were few and far between. Unfortunately we seem to breeding more and more of them.
Frankly the whole thing is more difficult for people like me as we truly believe the age of aquarius is upon us and tolerance and acceptance is more the order of the day. Just when you thought I sounded sane and not new age, I had to slip it in. That weird stuff. Didn’t I start out with the yin yang and black white references though? Well there is the dark side of the evolutionary process. And with aquarius comes the opposite, which is Leo. I am an aquarius. I married a Leo. Talk about opposite. And yet it worked. Because we wanted it to work. It was tumultuous at times but the willingness to listen and learn on both sides was the key to success. So with my friend, the Trump supporter I sit back and try to understand where she is coming from. Will I ever see what she sees? I doubt that very much. I can however take the advice my hubby once gave me. Don’t shut out or shut down those who have opposing views. They aren’t the enemy and they just might teach you a thing or two. Read newspapers that don’t share your political views. Watch News channels that cater to the “other” guys. Even if they don’t convince you or sway you, you will be come a more well rounded and informed individual. And the other guy? He is just different. A little respect and a whole lot of patience and there isn’t any reason we can’t all just get along. The most important thing I have learned in life is that my friends are diverse. I am usually odd man out but I like a challenge. They love me even if we don’t agree. That is the most important part of life. As Mama Ditte always said… What a boring world this would be if we were all the same!