Ming the Mechanic:
Diversity of Perspectives

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Diversity of Perspectives2002-02-19 19:34
6 comments
pictureby 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
this is.

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


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6 comments

19 Feb 2002 @ 23:14 by tdeane : With Deepest Love
Ming, let's make you representative of that specialized group "Intellectual". Now let's take you from your group and place you here, your diverse group. Those words which have meaning in your specialized group have no meaning here for a vast number of us, whether we are willing to admit it or not. Oftimes, you really don't know what each other is saying either, and I think I could prove that point if I asked each of the "Intellectuals" to translate independent of each other, what some of the passages on these pages represent. Everyone's interpretation would be different, because while you may have expertise in your own fields, even you together don't speak the same language. You identify with each other because of your prominence, not your common specialty, and, so all you are really doing is perpetuating misunderstanding. I'd like to challenge you to a test: Undoubtedly your children understand what you are talking about because you have explained the meanings of words to them and because you want them to achieve; now go to the children of another couple who are not achievers and speak the same language. See if they understand what you are talking about. Are these children who don't understand you less bright? No, they are not. They simply don't understand. This is not a contest of wills: It is common sense. All of us have spoken simply at one time during our development, even Intellectuals. We can all speak simply together. Who is standing in the way of common understanding here? Is it the person who is refusing to give up the big words, or is it the person who does not have the big words to use? I love you, my friend. Much love to all ~ Tricia  


20 Feb 2002 @ 00:04 by jazzolog : And Another Viewpoint or Viewsmudge
Tricia has a good point. I don't want to get too phenomenological about it, but the words and writing style we use have everything to do with how we are perceived in this medium. And as to the "intellectual" thing, we even did NOT elect a president once in this country (Adlai Stevenson) only because someone called him an egghead (intellectual) and the "epithet" caught on. Never has it been more politically obvious than today that Yanks do not want leaders who can think.

But I believe there is another level to this "disagreement" stuff. Those of us who have paying jobs out in the community (and I'm not advocating that necessarily or shaming people who don't) work elbow to elbow everyday with people we don't agree with. I like that part of it. In fact, I love having friends I don't "agree" with. How does that work? It means that our friendship gets based on other things than what causes friction, and there can be many when there is a real human being drinking his/her coffee right there in front of you. However, in the computer we see only one piece of a person at a time---in a message. Everybody is a jigsaw puzzle. One word or phrase can hit me the wrong way, and it doesn't take much more than that for me to get psychotic about somebody. If I have only a couple pieces of the puzzle assembled, I may sweep it off my table. I think these reactions are adrenal, visceral---the action of a body dealing with so much unknown.

If I gave my opinion about something in person to someone here---someone who didn't know me from Adam (I might even BE Adam :-))---that colleague has lots to go on besides the printed word. What's the look on my face, my posture, my tone of voice---is there a baseball bat in my hand? Cherchez la medium, Ming, it's the message!  



20 Feb 2002 @ 00:14 by shawa : Hello!
I agree with Ming, and with tdeane, and with jazzolog. They´re all facets of a totality - and my opinion is that, groupwise, a multifaceted jewel shines more than a simple stone. Also - I´d like to argue for the professionals, and the specialists. Used properly, in their place, and for the good of all - they have their function, even here in NCN. If Ming did not know about programming, we wouldn´t even have NCN. So cheers! for professionalism. There is a place for everyone.  


20 Feb 2002 @ 00:38 by mmmark : Cooperation
Please see my log "MMMarkings"  


20 Feb 2002 @ 03:11 by ming : Specialization
Yeah, my point is certainly not that anybody's better than anybody else here, or it is better to be intellectual, or better not to me. We need all of us. But we don't need all of us all doing the same jobs. If a group of engineers get together and develop a way to supply electricity for all of our activities with minimal cost and minimal pollution, I would think that was great, and I wouldn't care that I hadn't been part of all the discussions, and I wouldn't even care if all those engineers were anti-social jerks that I couldn't exchange two words with. Doesn't matter, if their job isn't to be smooth communicators and diplomats. As long as they do their piece, which ties into a bigger whole in a way that serves all of it.  


4 Mar 2002 @ 13:14 by magical_melody : Important Post Ming!
Thank you Ming. I interpret your words as being intellectual and wise, and you have heart. It takes some wholeness to facilitate a project like NCN, and I see that in You. Everyone here is a unique being, with their own special piece to contribute. Yeah for diversity! A new civilization will have diversity in balance with some common connections that link people in important ways. We need the differences as they are like spices in the stew, each adding to the delicious combinations of flavors, in the bigger meal that nourishes us all. Blessings, Alana  


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