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Marlon Jones

GED Program Director/ Instructor, Wright Career College

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"...but I'll defend to the death your right to say it… Really?"

Voltaire once said “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it” Would I? Really? While maybe not dead, civility is definitely paralyzed in our country, in our communities, and in our homes. At what point did it become easier to antagonize, patronize, and vilify the “other” instead of conducting a reasoned discussion about the perplexing issues that surround us? Well into the machinations of the most recent elections it was being reported by various media sources that Americans were more divided than during any other time in history. There is simply something that does not sound quite right about that statement. Is it possible to have an honest and reasoned discussion? Is it possible to objectively consider an opposing point of view? Do we even agree on what the problems are? Disagreements are inevitable but being disagreeable is not. What do you think?

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  • Nov 13 2012: Marlon.
    I read that listening is an act of, or a form of, love. I agree with this.
    In order to really listen, one must (be willing) to set aside their own prejudices, set conclusions and beliefs,
    opinions, ideas and so on, even truths, in order to really hear and understand the meaning in what the other person is saying, or, trying to say.
    The human of today (I'm thinking mainly of Americans), react from fear many times and it is fear they are not even aware of. Thus, they act uncivil.
    Imagine, I give you a pair of glasses in which the lenses are fear. That is then, how you see the world, forgetting the lenses are fear as easily as you forget the haircut you got that you didn't like. Fear of how you will look to others, perhaps. When I talk to people, I am almost always trying to make connection to them, but it virtually never happens.
    Things I like to talk about are the kinds and types of things I feel we need to be able to talk about. But, many of us have been taught to hide these things rather than show, reveal and talk about them. I remember picking up a young man who was hitch-hiking to work. It was winter. He had on a suit but no socks. I asked if he was alright. He looked at me, eyes filled with fear and said, "yeah, things are fine. Thanks."
    It is so difficult to learn not to be important. When I become important, I become afraid. I then act differently even to the point of withholding love from others. Which means not listening but reacting from fear. Not being in touch with the real me.
    I also think humans are a lot like animals in this way. They know when a storm is coming. They know when an earthquake is about to hit. Humans can also sense the danger on our planet and at least with all the fear we have drummed into us about global warming, economic collapse, the real spread of Fukushima radionuclides, the 7 garbage islands that are destroying all our oceans, war, disease, disasters and so forth, that they are walking around numb to everything except fear

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