“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
[Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950]” – Harry S. Truman
It is appalling to me when I see anyone advocate or defend the silencing of anyone in this world. We do it when we do not like what we hear from others, but in fact if we do not like what is said that is precisely the best reason why we should stop and deeply listen with an understanding and compassionate mind.
“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington
In our world it seems that so many would rather attack each other than try to really deeply understand why someone might think or believe what they do. What’s worse, is that they confuse the person with the idea. Most begin to hate the person rather than just hating the offending ideas. This kind of interaction limits all of us from true knowledge of each other and the potential for positive change. What we get in place of understanding is conflict.
How many of you can be truly defined by any one of your ideas completely? Nobody can, but that is how we sometimes judge and treat others we disagree with. We treat them and judge each other by the worst idea we know about them. What a awful waste of potential for new and wonderful things.
We are all so much more than what we could possibly say in one idea or even a 1000 page book of ideas. We all hold beliefs and ideas that are offensive to someone, but that is the nature of being a unique human.
Peace in our lives and in the world will require deep compassionate listening, the intent to understand each other in our interactions, and my personal favorite; a love for diversity of people and ideas. These are the qualities of collaboration. And history clearly shows us that of all the attributes for success of any group, collaboration wins every time! Be an intentional collaborator of ideas in your life. Instead of waiting for your turn to speak in a conversation, try to deeply listen with the intent to understand the person more. You will find that when you do this often, people will feel more understood by you and they will want to share more with you. You will have a deepening of your relationships and you won’t be just another voice amongst so many yelling at the wall.
We are love. We are joy. We are so very good. Let’s try our best to focus on these things that we truly are so we can more profoundly live the greatness that we each know inside we are all worthy of.