Saturday, 29 June 2013

About Intolerance

Another example of how we humans do not think? 
Intolerance. Or tolerance for that matter.

We like to see our tolerance as a sign of being civilized, sophisticated, more intelligent than others. And each time we are showing a sign of tolerance, we congratulate ourselves, for our superior education. 

Whereas tolerance is nothing but condoning the other. It basically stands for indifference. "I am tolerant" means as much as: honey, I couldn't care less.
There's no love, no respect, no empathy, no understanding... but I won't hit you.

Basically you don't exist. In the universe of my life, you are but a tiny satellite on the outskirts, an extra to fill up the screen.  

We should never congratulate ourselves for our tolerance. It's easy to be tolerant. For we are only tolerant towards those that do not present any danger.
It is said that, the better your education and the higher your degree, the more tolerant you are. Tolerance is civilized.
Well, if you are a professor at University, of course you are tolerant towards the cleaning lady from Afghanistan. You will even stop to chat with her, and smile, and enquire after the health of her family or be interested in her culture or weird dress - feeling all worldly and ever so civilized.
For she does not present any danger to you. She won't be after your job. She will not gossip with your colleagues. Your son will not start dating her. She won't be able to cause you any harm.
What the much praised attitude of tolerance actually says is: You are no competition whatsoever, in no domain whatsoever.
One can imagine how different the feelings will be of the local cleaning lady around the corner. Her intolerance directed at her Afghani colleague is, in fact, a sort of compliment: I see you as an equal. You and me are the same. (So I have no other option than to think bad of your skin colour and clothes). 

That professor might classify his attitude as an act of kindness, and feel good about himself and his being nice to people...  but is it? 
True, tolerance is still better than intolerance. Just as democracy 'is not ideal, but the least bad option we've got', tolerance is only the very first small step towards niceness, which in itself is only a first, superficial step towards kindness.
So, OK, any step that takes us there, to that last sport on the ladder, named UNDERSTANDING, is a good one. For anyone who belongs to a minority, it is bliss to live in a tolerant/indifferent society. 
But kind? Intelligent? Wise? Superior
We think it is... but it isn't.
Our mind tricks us into thinking it is a highly personal and good and superior opinion... where it's merely a slightly better version of indifference.

A 'tolerant society', is an indifferent one. A long, long way from a superior one. 
At the time being it's all we've got. 

Better to stand at the first sport of the ladder towards understanding, than nowhere at all. 

As long as we keep in mind that: 

"Be tolerant with the tolerant, but intolerant with the intolerant". 

1 comment:

  1. I am not tolerant at all with people who threaten my life, livelihood or family and friends.
    In fact I cannot understand when people get screwed around by dickheads they do not stand up for themselves and probably they should give them a slap. All this sweetness and light is all very well butlets the bad guys away with all sorts.
    No I think the law of the jungle has a place, as I am sure you would agree with if someone threatened you or yours safety. Sometimes there is a place for chaps like me.
    Respectful of your thoughts though