We like hearing our own voice over others, like an echo. Opposites don’t actually attract or make the best mates. Though we all know many people who are attracted to opposites, it’s generally the case that for our personal lives, most of us like to be with another version of ourselves.
But what happens when we live in a world with people who think so differently than us? What happens when all those unusually, strange people follow us into our homes, at work, and are in the palm of our hand each time we pick up our phones? For some of us- it’s exhilarating. We love the novel and what’s more we’ve been taught to have an insatiable curiosity. For most of us- it’s terrifying. The challenge to our routine is unbearable and we’ve been taught and instinctually have a fear of strangers.
And there you have it- the world we live in today. It is divided along lines the world over. Across countries and in every culture, people are taking sides as we stand our ground to protect what we believe creates the best societies. Unfortunately no matter what side we are on- we are wrong. The only way people who differ can live side by side in peace is if they stop taking sides and truly find within themselves respect for those who view the world differently than they do. And let’s not fall into the fallacy that we can all have one universal culture: there is far more beautiful variety in this world than one voice.
The universal values we need to expect of others are far fewer than we would like to admit. And those values we hold dear, we hold without truly understanding why or believing that they work. So, we operate from a place of insecurity which makes it much harder for us to accept others who differ. Insecurity causes us to hold tight even when there is no ground to do so.
A path to peace in today’s world is not through feeding our physical needs but rather through feeding our emotional, spiritual and intellectual selves. It’s not about eliminating hunger, guaranteeing health care, ensuring shelter but through strengthening the soul of each person that we will end the divide that is plaguing us throughout the world. And if we step back, we will realize that the world is not physically falling apart (see Is the World Getting Better or Worse?) only spiritually.