Sometimes writing a blog is like listening to the legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson; no matter how much time I spend away from it…I always find myself coming back to the music….
If you write a blog for any given length of time, you’ll probably find there are times when you unintentionally (or intentionally) come back to the familiar melody of an issue. The minefield of social media tends to be so reactionary, I find myself writing an unintended sequel to my previous post “Disagree With Me?? Let’s Work This Out?”
In that post, I puffed out my chest and dared to claim Rihanna’s 2016 hit single “Work” (featuring Drake) was one of the greatest pop songs of the decade…a bold claim…right?? (1, 021, 516, 576 views on YouTube and counting!) I don’t mind if you agree or disagree with my assertion because my eclectic musical taste isn’t an issue that’s up for debate. As strange as it might sound, not everything is a vehicle for “debate” especially if you only ever intend to drive your thoughts down a narrow, one-way street.
Ever wondered why political parties rarely find common ground? Academically, well-educated people in government, who spend more time on opposing sides of a discussion rather than attempting to find mutual understanding. If you use “debate” as a primary method of communication, the nature of that beast, requires you put together the most cohesive argument, in an attempt to beat your conversational opponent into submission and win the discussion.
It is a great technique if you’re delivering evidence to a judge or jury (perhaps that might explain why so many politicians have a background in law?) but I’m not a solicitor. I don’t always want to enter a discussion armed and ready to protect my point of view. At best debates seem to be a defensive exchange where listening is just a polite formality, as neither participant wants to move off course to consider an alternate perspective.
So, what is the point of having a conversation with someone who only wants confirmation they are right? What is the point of discussing an issue when there is no willingness from Malcolm to meet in the middle? E.L. James was onto something because not all topics are black or white, and often most answers live within the fifty shades of grey.
“Okay Ty, so what exactly do you do when you are in conversation with someone you don’t agree with?”
Whether it be a light-hearted topic or something that cuts a little deeper, I go into a conversation with an open ear which allows me to hear the rhythms of the opinion I’m being exposed to. I look for understanding, in an attempt to broaden my perspective, even if that particular point of view is in conflict with my own…
I want to understand the reasons why a person feels they are imprisoned within the wrong gender. I want to attempt to understand why anyone considers Drake to be a good singer? I actually want to understand why the Kardashians still have pop culture relevance or why anyone uses Twitter?
While it’s totally natural to surround ourselves with people who share similar interests, morals, values or viewpoints… I’m totally comfortable in the company of people whose ideologies, philosophies or personalities differ from my own…in fact…I deem this necessary for me to grow, change and evolve as a human being.
Just because I hold a certain skepticism for the broad strokes used on the #Metoo canvas doesn’t mean I don’t love, adore and respect the rights of women. Just because I love most of the Marvel films doesn’t mean I don’t want DC films to succeed and because I love the music of Aretha Franklin doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a song produced by DJ Snake featuring Selena Gomez and Cardi B.
An estimated 7.6 billion individuals live on this rock, you simply can’t expect everyone to hold the same perspective. Just because a person has grown up in an area of limited cultural and ethnic diversity doesn’t necessarily mean they are racist, just because a person grows up with “traditional/conservative” values doesn’t mean they are opposed to homosexuality and just because a person doesn’t put out their recycling on Thursday night doesn’t mean they don’t care about the environment.
If we keep shouting (or should that be typing?) broad, sweeping generalisations behind the anonymity of screens and monitors, we are swiftly going to lose the inherent value of nuance. Trending topics mean nothing if these issues aren’t backed up by a foundation of actual human interactions and conversations.
This blog isn’t written to bask in the spotlight of an adoring crowd, but with the polarising nature of social media, keyboard cowboys and hashtag warriors are under the misguided impression that just because you disagree, you can’t be friends and this is simply not true…at least in the physical world…
Experiencing an opposing view does not invalidate what you hold to be true and it is very possible to sit at opposite ends of the table, break bread and still enjoy an overpriced cappuccino in an overcrowded coffee house…and if you don’t believe me…
You’re welcome to put me to the test.
Until next time.