|by Flemming Funch|
A recurring phenomenon in NCN is the friction that appears when people find out that they don't agree. It seems very ingrained in our habits to expect that the people we connect with all have to have the same world view. And if they don't, we'll somehow persuade them to have the same world view. And if, after a lot of trying, we still can't agree, then they become our enemies, and either we get them kicked out, or we ourselves leave.
I have often preached that the only viable way forward is to embrace the fact that we'll always have a diversity of perspectives and preferences, and that it doesn't stop us from sharing the same bigger space, and from finding synergies amongst our various activities. And that we would be more likely to succeed as a diverse group than as a homogenous group, all believing and saying the same things.
Exactly how that is going to work, I don't yet know. But I know it is of vital importance to solve that whole issue.
Below is a message on the subject I wrote a few years ago.
Diversity of Perspectives
Once in a while I feel the need for reiterating the need for a tolerance of
different perspectives in a new civilization and in a network such as NCN.
Most of you are so open to different ways of seeing things that it is
rarely an issue. But, nevertheless, it is an important aspect to consider,
and conflicts do come up once in a while.
I was just having an e-mail argument with a gentleman who took offense to
the references to astrology in Max's Peace Pole message, and who
unsubscribed. He didn't want to be a member of any kind of new civilization
that lets people believe in that kind of "pseudo-science".
Now, personally I find astrology to be quite a useful thing, but that is
not the issue at all. The issue is more whether a few of us have the right
to decree what is right for everybody else.
The New Civilization Network is deliberately presented in fairly general
terms. It is based on people coming together with the positive intent of
making the planet work, to share our visions, to communicate and
collaborate where we are inspired. But it isn't spelled out exactly how, or
exactly what those visions are supposed to be. And it won't be.
You, who have been attracted to become members of NCN, are a very diverse
group of people. You might have come here for very different reasons, and
you might have very different expectations about what this is supposed to
be. And you might very well have a great deal of disagreements with other
members when it comes down to it and you actually look at the specifics.
To make a diverse network like this work, and for that matter, to make a
whole civilization work, we might need to suspend a number of our
assumptions about what this is and what we are. You can't walk in here and
expect that we're "of course" all new agers, scientifically based,
left-wingers, right-wingers, intellectuals, pragmatics, academics,
anti-government, pro-government, or whatever else you might think that we
ought to be.
We're all of that and more.
It might shock some of you, but as members of NCN there are communists,
militia members, pagans, born-again christians, police officers,
politicians, scientists, witches, priestesses, professors, channelers,
astrologers, astronomers, soldiers, bankers, lawyers, hackers, ministers,
hippies, atheists, talk-show hosts, and all sorts of other people.
You might have very different ideas about spirituality, about religion,
about sex, about politics, about your local government.
But hey, you're all here. And even if you weren't exactly here right now,
you are all inhabitants of this planet. And a remarkably diverse planet
That is step one, I think: to recognize that a planetary civilization needs
to have room for people with all sorts of orientations. I mean, there's
nowhere else to go at this point. We can't very well ship the people off
the planet who don't agree with you. If one thinks very small one might
just stay in one's own space, and hope that all the other people with the
"wrong ideas" will go somewhere else. But if you're embracing the whole
planet, there's no way around realizing that they're all here, WE're all
here, billions of people with all sorts of different ideas, with all sorts
of different practices, beliefs and habits. And we're all here whether you
personally like what we all do or not.
You have a right to your own thoughts and feelings, your own perceptions,
your own evaluations, your own decisions. And you have a right to be
passionate about what you believe and what you're doing.
The test of co-existence comes in when you're confronted with somebody
who's different, somebody who doesn't fit with your beliefs, or somebody
who believes something very different from what you believe.
Do you choose to avoid the other person? Do you leave? Do you choose to try
to argue them into changing until they fit with your belief? Do you go and
complain to other people? Do you try to force them to do things your way?
Do you just strengthen your position and hide behind your barricades?
Or, do you expand your mind and your heart? Do you actively seek to expand
your ability to deal with diversity? Do you seek to understand that which
is different, rather than just trying to get your own point across? Do you
seek ways of creating peaceful coexistence and meaningful dialogue?
I guess humanity still has some ways to go, to realize that we're naturally
diverse, but yet all made of the same stuff. To realize that we can all be
here at the same time. To realize that there's endless space for thought,
and that it isn't really a problem at all that we have different thoughts.
- Flemming, Jan 08 1998