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December 4, 2011 / paulio10

One For All

Democrats vs Republicans
Team vs Team
Criminals vs Police
My Religion vs Your Religion
Employee vs Customer
Workers vs Management
Kids vs Adults
Parents vs Teachers
Rich vs Poor

We’ve been trained to think “us vs them” in our society, and it’s time to stop. It doesn’t work because it’s wrong.

“Us vs Them” creates a ridiculous amount of waste in our society. The amount of money collected and spent by Democrats to fight against Republicans, and vice-versa, is staggering. And it’s needless. Everyone knows that you want the right person in the right position; it doesn’t make sense to stick to a party line any longer, one way or another. When the system is failing, you need fresh thinking, you need anyone who can dig out from a mess, and you need everyone to support them. If the two choices are A vs B, then neither A nor B will work. You need a creative new idea, perpendicular to A and B, called C. Someone needs to think of C, and implement it. And we need to support them when that happens.

We now have a 2-party political system in the USA where if any one of the two parties begins to succeed, the other works even harder to tear down the first and ruin their progress. That’s so disgraceful to humanity. It’s so disrespectful to the Principles of the United States of America. It hurts my heart, and then I have to turn off the TV and hide from it all. And I don’t think I’m the only one.

But politics isn’t the only place where Us vs Them is destroying power, wasting energy, wasting money, food, our time, and other resources.

If people really wanted to solve problems in order to live a happier and more fulfilling life, they would find ways of actually listening to other people with joy in their heart, eager to hear what the other person’s fertile brain has thought up recently. They would admit a series of ideas is interesting and new and different, when it is – regardless of whether they agree with it or not. These people would love each other so much they would want to be like each other, admiring their mannerisms of oration, the way their mind works, how their heart influences their thinking… and they’d try to be the same way.

I have seen musicians who mutually admired each other, and learned things from each other – the end result is wonderful: the highest quality of music for all to hear.

There is limited money, limited energy that the human race has to work with right now. Each of us has limited time on this Earth. It’s unacceptable to waste any of it. If there is a better way than the current norm for spending those hours, that money, that energy, well… it needs to be studied, understood, and followed from now on, by everyone in the world.

Learn how to cooperate, to arbitrate, to work out differences by seeing the other person’s point of view. This would solve so many problems in our lives, and provide a far happier life for all around us including ourselves.

I think about the homeowner who fights their HOA about changes to their home. That’s so ridiculous – those people would kick themselves if they could see it from a distant eye, a balanced view. The HOA is themselves. If you don’t get this yet, sit in on a few HOA meetings. Ask the board members where they live and how much they get paid to be there. Do you know the answer? If not, go and ask. You will be startled.

I want to see people laughing and talking and agreeing and disagreeing and sharing and appreciating each other. If there’s a disagreement, well, what the heck; this time let the other person win. Let them try their idea, if that’s the consensus. If it doesn’t work out, they learned something – we can try your way now. Maybe next time they will cave in to your idea, to your surprise (it would be nice once in a while, wouldn’t it.) So you get your chance to implement your idea. If it doesn’t work, then you will have learned something – we can try their way now.

This is the difference between chaos and order. Chaos is opposites pulling against each other, canceling each other out – reducing results. Order is cooperative effort which compounds results. Spending energy to progress, rather than spending energy to hold back. Adding two numbers together, rather than subtracting one from the other.

I’m beginning to think this is the real meaning behind the Tower of Babel. It wasn’t so much that humanity started speaking a thousand different languages (after all, the Internet is slowly fixing that). No, the problem is that humanity started insisting on their own way or the highway, for a thousand different opinions, with or without evidence; with or without experience. Everyone’s an expert, everyone has an opinion, and everyone gets pissed off if you don’t listen to them and do exactly what they want. This shit has to stop. The stopping can begin with me, and you.

Next Steps

1. Right now, go and look up your HOA’s web site. I dare you. Find when the next open meeting is; call and make sure they’re still meeting at the same time & day & place. Then, attend the meeting and start asking questions.

2. You’re a parent? So why can’t you see the child’s point of view anymore? You were one not so long ago! Sometimes the child is right in what they’re attempting, if you keep your eyes open and put aside your homegrown prejudices.

3. The next time you’re in a disagreement with someone, stop yourself and see if you can fully understand their point of view – particularly, why they are saying what they are saying. What’s their motivation. You don’t have to agree with them. But you should be able to argue their viewpoint at least as well as they can. If you can’t, yet, keep practicing. There’s no emotion required in understanding a viewpoint. Except, possibly, compassion, once you realize the origins of why they are arguing the opposite point from you.

4. The next time someone suggests the next path of action and you point out all the obstacles of their idea, if they’re still insisting, then back down. Say “OK, we’ll try it your way.” Because their way could work. Maybe you can now discuss the few pitfalls you predicted, and together come up with some good ways to deal with them – so they aren’t even a problem. Remember, the other person (who’s so positive about their own idea!) is in the perfect mental position to solve problems with their idea. You are not, because it’s not your idea; you’re mind is somewhat against it. You can think up the problems (and they cannot); they can think up the solutions when you cannot.

That’s the cooperation that leads to success.

And when it works, you can say “we did it together!” and you will be really happy.

And when it fails, you can say “let’s find the solutions together!” and that work will be energizing for you.

I’ve seen it. I’ve done it. I highly recommend it.

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One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. Stan Thompson / Dec 13 2011 7:48 PM

    I love your thoughts, in part because I sit on the board of our HOA and can resonate with them.

    In Next Step 3. it should be understand “their” point of view rather than “they’re” point of view. I say that not to nit-pick, but to add even more polish to a beautiful essay.

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