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How did this happen?

by Jeb on 03/24/2009

differencesSeriously, we’re so different. We have such disparate opinions about the world. About politics. Religion. Child rearing. Twitter. Beer. This is good by the way, these differences.

My frustration comes from the fact that we don’t seem to celebrate these differences enough, that we might all learn from one another. Conformity is valued, whether we like to admit it or not. Hell, organized religion and politics - two of the biggest institutions in the country - depend on conformity for their very survival. Add to this the indoctrination of kids by way of the public school system and, well, you get my point.

The result is that a lot of people use these differences as an excuse to build walls along their borders. To keep people out. And others in. After a while, the view is so obstructed that we can’t even imagine another way, much less respect the perspective that allowed for it, or  learn something valuable from it.

And I guess that’s the answer to the question…How did this happen? That’s how. By turning differences into points of contention rather than discussion. By making rules, if only informal, that exclude rather than include. By raising our young people to fit in rather than stand out.

But you see, our differences aren’t a problem…no, they’re a solution, at least potentially. If we could stop trying to ram ‘our way’ down the throats of those we disagree with, stop presuming we maintain a monopoly over what’s right, I think we’d be amazed at what’s out there. If we could learn to embrace our differences, and truly learn from them, in a way that is more than just lip service, I think that could be a game-changer.

The Mastermind idea is founded upon the value that’s created by people coming together to solve problems, enhance creativity, expand awareness. Imagine if our institutions took that approach. Rather than malign those who disagree, collaborate with them, learn from them. Because not only is there value in those differences, there’s a lot of common ground to be found there as well.

I think social media is leading the way in this regard. Sharing. Collaborating. Connecting dots. Shedding light. Certainly, it’s why I’m here.