One of the biggest revelations I have ever had in life was that I was capable of being wrong. Not only can I be wrong, I can even be wrong about things I am sure about. Many of us might say that we could recognize when we are wrong or change our minds if we are proven wrong, but the reality is, most of us can’t.
In most cases we define our universe almost entirely by our personal experiences and this is highly dangerous. A series of unfortunate events can lead to you becoming bigoted. If we are slighted by a member of a minority, for instance, on more then one occasion we might shape our entire universe in a different way based on these experiences.
We are vicious about defending our experiences and the opinions we generate from them. We are so aggressive about it, that we will often surround ourselves in people that agree with us just so that we can believe we are right. It’s much easier, and satisfying, to surround ourselves with people that agree with us. We would rather ramble on for hours on end in agreement, not accomplishing anything, then to create purposeful friction which benefits not only ourselves but the entire race as a whole. The examples of this behavior are plentiful; the biggest being religion and politics. Outside of religion and politics you have major and minor social groups that conform to certain ideas or philosophies.
Hitler had some bad experiences with some Jewish people and decided it would be better if they didn’t exist. Ayn Rand witnessed the effects of extreme socialism and decided that the complete opposite has to be the answer. Karl Marx witnessed the distress of the proletariat and decided the only way to make everyone happier was through a complete abolishing of free enterprise. It’s very common for us to be hyperbolic. When something doesn’t work many of us assume the opposite is the answer and we rarely stop to think about the center.
What is at stake is everything. Without compromise, objectivity, introspection, and debate there can be no progress. Elolight will slip away from us.