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How to Kill Someone, How to Save Someone

Absolutism in any form has and will continue to kill people one way or another.

From political statements and sentiment calling for the death of the President, to calling out all corporations as if they are mythical beasts rather than organizations made of people, absolutism is everywhere.

Absolutism is easy. It is also destructive not only to those excluded from the secret societies that hold to absolutist beliefs, but to the absolutists themselves. Absolutism did, after all, cause some serious issues in France.

Where the logical end of hatred is death, the logical end of absolutism is the destruction and eradication of those beliefs that are not your own. Absolutism leads to hatred and hatred to death. Maybe Yoda was right.

This isn’t a liberal or conservative problem. It’s a human problem. Where any belief has as its logical outcome the destruction of something else, it’s a great way to start a kind of thinking that will result in killing another person.

The only solution is open-mindedness. The trick is that this can’t be forced on anyone. It has to be something that others actually want.

If it is forced, open-mindedness is just another absolutist belief that can be just as destructive as calling for the President’s wife to mourn his death.

The solution starts with one person – you. Once each of us wants to be open-minded, empathetic, compassionate, and actually willing to change our own beliefs, things can change.

We’re all capable of this, but many of us just don’t want it. There is no “can’t.” There is no “try.” Being open-minded is like being pregnant: You either are or aren’t.

Here’s an exercise to see just how open-minded you are willing to be: start up a conversation with someone on a specific belief you have a total disagreement. Make it civil. Bite your tongue when a resentment starts to bubble up and start listening more intently. Take an interest in the person speaking and not the belief itself.

Being open-minded isn’t brain surgery, it’s a choice that can save lives.

About Andrew Tatusko

Secularization, critical pedagogy, sometimes agnostic, politics, and a ton of running. Penn State is definitely not responsible for what I say.


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