I’m sorry, I don’t speak chimp.

NikkoNoEvil4902

NikkoNoEvil4902 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever found yourself in a “discussion”, only to realize halfway into it that the other person is standing on the pulpit, and this is a one-way conversation?  If you have been out anywhere socially in the last year, or have a Facebook account, I’m going to wager that the answer is “yes”. It’s an epidemic. And my use of the term pulpit is not to imply that these discussions are exclusively religious in nature, but they are included.

What is going on? The 2012 presidential campaign has “descended into trench warfare”, attacks on mosques are a security concern, and a gay night club is attacked with fire projectiles.  And that’s just headlines from today.

It appears that we no longer have the capacity to see each other as worthy of a discussion. We resort to dismissive, hurtful, and even violent behavior all in the name of “being right.”

“…when we discriminate, prejudge, and/or take advantage of others for personal gain, we view and treat others as sub-human, and in doing so justify our behavior, for we value our own hopes, dreams, and aspirations as more important – or more human – than those of others.”

via Sub-Human: A Justification of Exploitation – Brian E. Konkol | Gods Politics Blog | Sojourners.

We have to be “so right” that we diminish another person’s existence to something akin to highly evolved chimps.

Where is this state of opinion coming from? How do we change this wave of perception that we are better than others, we are more right, and ultimately more important?  How can we reconnect our society, and make all members worthy of respect? 

How do we find our way back to discussion?

I think Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, has some insight in her speech The Power of Vulnerability on TEDTalks. I encourage you to watch it.

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About Blurb My Enthusiasm
40-something-yrs-old and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. My resume reads like a food court menu: educator, dog walker, product manager, executive director, managing editor - and that's just the notable titles. I entertain all offers and consider myself up for the job until someone tells me I'm not. I've never been fired. What I lack in direction, I make up for in enthusiasm.

6 Responses to I’m sorry, I don’t speak chimp.

  1. alundeberg says:

    The need to be right seems to trump the need to understand. I think there are many reasons for this, but it is sad to see. Too many people have to have supremacy over others. As for FB, I am going to defriend a few people who post idiotic posts about politics that have no bearing in facts or are grounded in thought.

  2. Politics always bring out the worst in people! I have hidden a few people that don’t contribute to the dialogue in any productive way. Facebook has given us all a pulpit, and I try to remember to use it responsibly. I’m sure I’ve been hidden a few times too 🙂

  3. I’ve noticed the same thing – more and more often of late. People talking away (to or even at me) but when it comes time to listen, they space out or have something else they “need to do”. At first I thought it was me but when I checked in with others they said, “Yeah, me too! It’s like they want to hear themselves talk and are not at all interested in me or what I have to say.”

    Maybe it’s overload? Or too many soundbytes? Or the need to feel like they exist? But I also think that a lack of respect is a simple and basic cause.

    “I come from the East, most of you [here] are Westerners. If I look at you superficially, we are different, and if I put my emphasis on that level, we grow more distant. If I look on you as my own kind, as human beings like myself, with one nose, two eyes, and so forth, then automatically that distance is gone. We are the same human flesh. I want happiness; you also want happiness. From that mutual recognition, we can build respect and real trust of each other. From that can come cooperation and harmony.” – the Dalai Lama
    M

    • I love your Dalai Lama quote. There is such an emphasis on difference, and respect is lost in the shuffle. I’m glad I am not the only one that has been feeling this epidemic. Maybe it will end soon? Even the plague ran its course…

  4. jolynproject says:

    I would say it comes from ego (false self) and society. This competitive spirit is driven in our brains in the Western society at least and is based on our insecure ego that feels the need to be the best, the most right and the most righteous amongst the bunch. If we get back to our humble selves and remember that our “shit stinks” too and we are no better than the next, then we connect to our soul (higher self) and judgment would just vanish. Now, we can all get caught up in our ego and forget how we can possibly make others feel less than us but I guess a way to start checking ourselves is to be more mindful of our words and be more honest with ourselves with how we use them in our day to day.

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