We seem to have lost the insight that when we say things in the imperative voice of absolute truth, it causes the other person to either stop talking; or defensively respond with their version of absolute truth on the subject.
We seem to have adopted the false believe that the lack of a strong opinion on a subject somehow implies we’re not very smart or very well informed. If we don’t speak in the imperative voice of absolute truth we are powerless and invisible; sheep like.
A very good example of this tendency to speak in the imperative voice can be seen in almost any conversation on Democratic versus Republican philosophies, global climate change, what our world needs to fix “the problem”, or why unemployment is so high.
I’m sure you could add more examples to this list.
We seem to have lost the ability to simply have a conversation. Perhaps it’s time to tone it down a bit and get back to conversation, questions, and middlepath thinking where we actively search for the truth on both sides of an issue—–and do it quietly and thoughtfully.
Author Richard Stine wrote what I believe is one of the best examples of wisdom I have ever read; a wisdom that could return civility to our collective conversations. He said
“my experiment right now is to attempt to lessen the emotional complications by communicating as simply as I can. To try not to feel that I have to attack or be on the defensive when I have to deal with a tough situation, or a situation that challenges my beliefs. To just express the truth as I see it, and then let things develop the way they will without trying to force them one way or another”.
I have many signs hanging on the walls of my office, but this quote on middlepath thinking is my favorite.
Wise people tend to listen and ask lots of questions. We don’t need “the truth”, we need wise conversations that search for creative solutions.
We need to bring wisdom and civility back into our conversations with others.