Written by: Michael Kravshik.
No. No, we can’t. In the history of humanity there has never been a time where we all just “got along.” Clearly, it’s not such an easy task, and to be honest I’m tired of people trivializing the matter.
Is it human nature? I believe it is. Although many have hope that it isn’t and that some day we will all just get along. But until that day, or perhaps at least until the day where there is one iota of evidence supporting the possibility, I can’t understand why anyone would be foolish enough to make that overly- cliché statement. As our society has developed, we haven’t learnt to get along any better, we’ve just learnt how to express more of our disagreements in a non-violent manner. Which leads me to wonder, would it even be good if we all just got along? Most definitely not, as competitive environments breed progress. More importantly I would think, if we all just got along wouldn’t we all just be the same? Conformity has never proven effective in society building, and we can thank the millions who suffered through communism for that lesson. To that point, isn’t our individuality what makes us human, uniqueness is an important part of our humanity and uniqueness breeds disagreement.
So if we can’t all just get along then I, for one, am very thankful for that. Striving towards that goal would be a mistake. Further, it’d be a big waste of energy considering the meek chances that its even possible. Instead, we need to focus more of our efforts on learning how to more effectively handle all of our disagreements in non-violent ways. That goal I’m more optimistic about, and in fact the evidence of that possibility is slowly showing its face, though often shrouded by the constant reminder of our failures.
So next time you hear someone say “Can’t we all just get along?” say no, no we can’t, but counter with, “Can’t we all just learn to better handle our disagreements in a non-violent fashion, and wouldn’t that be better?” I admit, its nowhere near as catchy, but at least it has substance, something the title of this post does not. And if we ever realize that extremely challenging goal, no one will ever describe it using the word “just” since we will have all understood the immensity of our accomplishment.
This is my opinion. What’s yours?
Re: Why can’t we all get along?
Well, we can. Sometimes. It’s called Civilization! As defined Civilized is “Characteristic of a state of taste, refinement, restraint, fairness or justice”. Human cultures have advanced over the centuries, but we are not quite there yet. Some cultures are further ahead than others (Westernism -more on this later). Psychologists and and the Sages believed that humans have two competing personalities: one prone to evil and one good. Societies’ ability to encourage and nourish ones “better self” will move us further toward Civility.
Even though you state that someone is always “west” of others, the term is prejudicial. Common knowledge accepts that globally there are “western” cultures and “eastern” cultures. And, it is simplistic to assign the democratic freedoms solely to “Westernism”
I believe that recognizing our cultural similarities rather than emphasizing our differences will allow the “World Civilization” to advance. The ” Cup is half full” and we can fill it with more civility if we work at it.
Michael: Hey UB. The definition of civilized seems very appropriate but getting along isn’t on there. If it is part of the definition than I’m not sure civilization has happened yet. I would argue you and I are civilized and disagree and I think its the way we go about disagreeing that proves our civility. Posting on this blog for example as opposed to other more violent methods.
In terms of Westernism, I have certainly heard that disagreement before, and the merit I see with it is only in peoples perceptions. By that I mean, if people truly can not see past the four letters to their deeper meaning, than perhaps I will never convince people of my idea. At the same time, true westernists (by my definition) are more interested in critical inquiry and self-reflection than being overly sentimental about a word.
Democratic freedoms truly are unique to western culture. Not that Eastern cultures have not also adopted the method in certain instances (Japan for example), but in those cases it was through western influence. Eastern cultures have certainly provided many innovations and positive changes to the world, but the ‘lineage’ of democracy is purely western (by that I mean Greek, Roman, Western European). The concept was invented by the ancient Greeks (although in a very different form than we now understand it), and altered by many different cultures along the way.
What I am trying to push is that Westernism is not a culture. Its a way of thinking. You can be part of any culture and be westernist, and you can be a member of western culture and not be (see my post on democratic death threats). I myself had issue with using it because of this concern. The reason I feel it is still more beneficial is that many people can automatically associate many of the characteristics of westernism before being explained the concept in full. This gives it easy understandability.
Glad you’re interested!
You should be able to like comments…
Michael: I like that comment… unfortunately wordpress isn’t as user friendly as I would have hoped haha. If anyone knows how to make that an option please share…
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