Last few days have been a huge learning experience on debate and tolerance thanks to two incidents. The first was students preparing for debate competition at college. Very clinically we discussed the merits of being a good listener and putting points across not with the aim of proving ourselves right but bringing new knowledge to the table, being empathetic to the opponents’ bag of experiences and then adding onto it. Obviously the discussion was all theoretical. And up until the time I saw a fairly ugly debate (wonder if it can be called that) online, I never truly made the connection between the theory and the practical. In fact had it not happened at close quarters, I would have shaken my head and scrolled past.
There is a thin line between debating on issues with the aim of learning/sharing ideas and going all out with hatred/contempt/or a belief that one’s set of ideas is final. The line is even thinner online. The so called two sides of the wirld are increasingly looking similar.
The perspective also brought on an uncomfortable, unsure realisation that I might have been the venom spewing woke ‘debater’ at some points too. With that also comes learning of something I grew up studying but left between pages : “An eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth would lead to a world of the blind and toothless.” And thankfully I believe learning is a life long process. So my future self would hopefully would be different from the past.
Another interesting concept is that of Green Cape-Red Cape that I have quoted earlier (read this for a more detailed explanation) I choose to wear the reversible cape with the green side staying on the outside. It is a tough choice. And will require some amount of unlearning. So I hope to unlearn.
On a lighter note, I was telling the friend to not engage the people spewing venom.
She says and I quote, “I engage with people I care about. I am not engaging. I am exfoliating.” And I like the idea of exfoliating, removing toxins, constantly reinventing and relearning.