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Phillip Beaver

Citizen, Humankind

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For the TED Community, "tolerance" is Insufficient: I propose "respect."

While “intolerance” is useful, its antonym is not. No one brooks tolerance.
In other words, each person is intolerant of tolerance: When it comes to his opinions, he requires respect.
The TED challenge is for members to offer respect for other opinion, and therefore, tolerance is insufficient.
Synonyms for “tolerance” include patience, sufferance, forbearance; liberality, impartiality, open-mindedness. The moment I recognize the other party is patient, suffering, or forbearing, my side of the dialogue changes to the weather, local traffic, the latest natural disaster, or such. If I detect any of the behaviors to the right of the semicolon, I become cautious and wait for a pertinent question by the other party.
When I meet someone, the most precious characteristic to me about them is their opinion and how they established it. However, I feel I have no right to ask questions about what is so precious to me: their opinion and background—often a very private treasure. Holding opinion private seems, in itself, an expression of opinion.
Therefore, in personal dialogue, I express my opinion and wait for the other party’s curiosity as to how I established it. In public forum, I share the opinion and background then wait for response.
One of the greatest acts of respect is to accept termination of the dialogue by the other party. Only they know why they stopped sharing. Perhaps they are locked in profound reflection. Each person is on a path of maturing psychologically, and each path is unique in time, direction, and depth.
What are the arguments for TED members to employ the word “tolerance” when “respect” is available?

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    Sep 5 2011: Respect is earned.
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      Sep 5 2011: Not with me. I am delighted to meet someone new, and immediately, they have my full respect for both their person and their opinions. I yearn to explore their opiinins and bases for the opinions. How people cope with uncertainty is fascinating and wonderful to me.
      If the other person is willing to have a meaningful discussion, great. If not, that's OK--they have their reasons to be private, but my respect is not diminished.
      If there is a discussion and I start sensing disrespect, I politely limit my contributions to trivia. So, the only way a person's opinion can be diminished in my regard is by disrespecting me or my opinion. Then, they have to re-earn my trust.
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        Sep 5 2011: correction to gisela's statement:

        respect should be earned
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          Sep 5 2011: Let me understand.
          Does this mean that when I meet someone I should assume I am respected yet demonstrate worthiness? (I propose by respecting the other.)
          Or does it mean that I should assume I am disrespected and behave to earn respect?
          Or is it something else?
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        Sep 5 2011: When I meet someone, we are in neutral territory - full of potential. If they seem incapable of discussing anything other than last night's reality TV shows, or their coworkers, nope, I'm sorry, I don't develop respect for them (in fact, I usually never see them again, at least not intentionally).

        Sure, they may have something meaningful to say somewhere in their heads, I'm just not interested in slogging through the rest of it to find it.

        Maybe it's because I am perfectly fine spending time on my own (I have lots to do), but I don't find that every single human being is worth my time when compared to a good book or an interesting project, or even when compared to more interesting people.

        Respect actually has meaning for me. It's not some baseline - if I tell you that I respect a particular person, that means something.

        (EDIT: fixed typos. Tablets and talons don't mix.)
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          Sep 5 2011: Thank you for the clarification. I know what you mean about personal preferences and being busy and therefore finding it easy to accept someone's rejection of me.

          I did not perceive a need for tolerance in your policy: you either respect or not. If I have it right, OK, but if not, I'd like to know how tolerating might be useful for you.
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        Sep 5 2011: Tolerating implies pain. I don't have a martyr complex.

        I am much more inclined to either ameliorate or extricate.

        I don't understand why anyone thinks tolerance is a good thing.
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          Sep 5 2011: I don't see how anyone can be attracted to martyrdom; life is too much fun. If you happen to learn of a reason to tolerate instead of respect, please share it. Thank you again for your contributions.
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        Sep 5 2011: I agree I think respect should be given with out being earned as this is essential to learning to understand grace.
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          Sep 6 2011: The term "grace" in this thought confounds me. What does 'grace' mean in this context?
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        Sep 6 2011: I think it would be a lie for me to say I was respecting someone while trying to figure out how to get away from them, and I'm afraid I think that often.

        I can be perfectly civil while looking for an out, but as long as I am trying to figure out how to (a) get the person to stop blathering about whatever insipid thing they are going on about or (b) plotting my excuse for why I have to leave, the word "respect" doesn't actually seem accurate, does it?

        I'm pretty sure it doesn't qualify as "tolerating" them either.

        Equally, I make the assumption that other people would not pretend to be fascinated in whatever minutiae I could come up with - nor would I expect them to. I have no need or desire to be "tolerated". Why would someone waste my time pretending to be interested in something when there are so many other things to be done?
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          Sep 6 2011: For me, there is a time and place for small talk. It's like smelling the roses. When it comes time to cut it off, I never have problems with either saying or hearing, "Hey, this has been fun, but I've got to cut it off."

          Also, I have some friends who take interest in things like the housewife shows. When they start, I say, "I have never watched one of those shows." It's a true statement, and it stops their monolog.

          To me, these small conversation managing statements are respectful toward the other party and intolerant toward abuse of small talk.
        • Sep 6 2011: i'm not mad on small talk either, but I think it's a bit like monkeys grooming. Something that is unchallenging and non-confrontational, that supports social bonding. But there is a time and a place...
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      Sep 5 2011: Hi Debra;

      I beleive that Philip's proposal of respect is not the same kind of stand that you are talking about. We should respect anyone we interfer in such mediums like TED until they start to act disrespectfully.
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        Sep 5 2011: I think you meant me.

        That's not respect, it's just being civil.
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        Sep 5 2011: Erol, I agree with and appreciate your support, but am not aware of a Debra in this conversation.
        Phil
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      Sep 6 2011: I think 99% of people on earth should be respected the 1% not being murders and rapists and so on. But the level of respect people get should be earned or diminished by there actions you do not have to like someone to respect them
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        Sep 6 2011: Perhaps it is an issue of semantics.

        When I remark on the absence of something, I do not mean its opposite. Absence of respect is not disrespect, it's just: neither.

        For me, at least, respect is an active state. When I respect someone I have invested a certain amount of psychic energy into the mix - I cannot respect someone I do not know, at least in some measure.

        I need to have encountered at least some part of them - their work, their thoughts, something - in order to evaluate and find value.
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          Sep 6 2011: I see respect as caring the greater respect I have for something the more I tend to care about it. Good or bad
          I am not the judge or jury of people I met or haven’t met. I do not tolerate someone rights eg. To live or freedom of speech etc because it would mean it would not worry me which way it went. So I respect peoples rights whom I have not met inturn respecting them. I think life in general should be enough value to have respect.
  • Sep 10 2011: Thank you for the translation - it was not necessary, 'cause I'm quite OK in English, but can't deny that was very kind of you.

    Your theses are unarguable. Building a multicultural society should be based on repect of privacy, and those seven goals you told about. Applied to the concept of US being a place to leave to for all the refugees and prosecuted people, it gives us a statement like "There's no better price to buy the freedom, than giving others a chance to be free, too".
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      Sep 10 2011: Thank you for a creative question plus kind, accommodating reactions to my study and responses. (‘Kindness’ and ‘accommodation’ are good candidates to replace ‘respect’.)
      For most of my life, I assumed the majority of Americans are of We the People, the 1787 Founders unique gift toward world peace. However, I have been reading and writing about it since November, 2006, in one essay, "How 'Democracy' Undermines the United States of America," and before that in letters-to-the-editor of my local newspaper. I think most Americans are not of We the People; they don’t even know the Preamble, so most of them fall among “the people,” toward whom the cost of governance is directed and sometimes force applied.
      I have come to think most Americans hold the work of the 1774 Founders, namely the Declaration of Independence (1776), trumps the Preamble to the US Constitution. For example, there is no federal holiday for Constitution Day (September 17), but the 4th of July is the most celebrated of all holidays.
      Consequently, most Americans don't get the Preamble's order of goals: unity, justice, and the rest. Most Americans skip the other seven goals to focus on their particular freedom! Freedom!
      Thus, the Preamble’s promises to humankind lie fallow. I’d like to change that. I want a social revolution starting September 16, 2011, this year’s US Constitution Day. You helped.
      Phil
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    Sep 9 2011: Phil, when your neighbour said "I am an atheist; I considered all the issues and don't want to consider them again." I have a sense of what he might have meant. I've been a non-believer for 36 years. I've had my stance questioned countless times and in the vast majority of cases the same tired arguments are trotted out. It gets very boring!

    Jack may differ from me in one significant way, though. He may have become an atheist and stopped searching for Big Answers. He might while away his spare time making model airplanes. If that makes him happy, that's fine by me. In my case, though, the search never stopped. Only the belief in a personal deity stopped.

    So ... I'm an non-believer but I don't want to defend that stance for the thousandth time. However, if somebody uses the word "God" I do not instantly recoil. That is why I hesitate to call my "atheist" — a term that has lately become associated with vitriolic anti-theism.

    Having said that, I must also say this: if the thing somebody calls "God" is some being who watches and judges us and seems very much like Jehovah or Allah or Zeus or Odin, then I have no time to hear the rest of what they have to say. I've been there and done that, and life's too short to do it again and again.
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      Sep 9 2011: Your statement, “Life’s too short to [consider God] again and again,” reminds me of life path.
      I was reared and indoctrinated Southern Baptist, but on reading what I perceived as threats, in the last versus of the Bible, acquired precious doubt. In college, for sophomore English term paper, I chose the subject “Hinduism” to broaden my thinking—explore whether or not there might be opportunity to decrease doubt. I was impressed, but concluded Hinduism is just another religion, and I would stick with mine.
      In my mid-forties my church asked me to help form a younger class for deep thinkers, similar to the elders’ class I had attended for years. The four of us took 4 weeks to share opinions on major issues. We considered the statement, “Jesus died on the cross to redeem me of my sins.” The responses were: yes, yes, I don’t know, and yes. Asked, I responded, “We’re taught, Jewish leaders selected Jesus to be killed by Pontius Pilot. God could have accommodated decisions to spare Jesus.” (Not truth: opinion.)
      In my early fifties, I withdrew by writing a letter to the Baptist Message with copy to my pastor. My pastor argued that I had always been a needed, provocative contributor to the church. I said, “I always knew that and felt appreciation for my opinions. However, It is time for me to change.”
      In my late fifties, I had dropped out of Christianity and by the early sixties was out of religion.
      Now, if I had had a conversation with you at any time on that path, I hope you’d understand I was at a point and respond to whatever concerns I might express about my beliefs; I so regret having stayed so long in adult, self-indoctrination.
      I cannot deny others who share opinion.
      I am delighted when I visit with one of my old chruch members, and most of them convey that they still appreciate me.
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    Sep 8 2011: I've been online since the 1970's and for most of that time I've attempted to be tolerant of other people. On a few occasions I have lost my tolereance and my temper. In such cases I am a fool and cannot even respect myself.

    I do NOT award respect to people who have built a cognitive wall around themselves. I can tolerate them and not interfere with what they're doing, but they have not, in my view, earned respect.

    Having said all that, I must also say that the word "respect" means different things to different people. It can even mean different things to ME, depending on the context. For example, I can say that I respect a person's right to post on the Internet (as long as he or she does not harm or unreasonably inconvenience others). But even if I give another person the space and time to speak it does NOT mean that I must consider his or her opinion as valid as the opinion of somebody who I actually do respect.

    If anybody is wondering how somebody earns my respect, it's really quite simple. All it takes is a genuine willingness to consider the possibility that EITHER of us could be wrong. That's all it takes for communication to blossom.
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      Sep 8 2011: I know what you mean by cognitive wall.
      I started with precious doubt, became indoctrinated at home, focused on engineering studies and dated ladies, went to work and dated ladies, fell in love with a woman of a different Christian sect, participated in self-indoctrination in my sect and indoctrination of our children, then encountered rebuke of my wife's Christianity by my Christian peers.
      She's still in her religion, and my precious doubt helped me out of religion altogether. That's my path.
      When I meet someone or disscuss opinion (needed only when no one knows) with someone I know, I ask myself, "What is their path and how far along are they?" I was thrilled to read that this is a justifiable approach in H.A. Overstreet, The Mature Mind, 1949, available digitally.
      Consequently, I sometimes have amazing exchange of opinion. For example, I fell into a veryfast, blount conversation with a Texas Protestant at a wedding reception. When she detected doubt, she said, "That's because you have no faith."
      I responded, "Oh, I would not say that. What requires more faith: to face death claiming you know what you don't know or admitting you don't know?"
      She asked, "What specifically are you talking about?"
      I said, "I know neither that soul is more than an intellectual construct nor that my afterlife will involve more than dust and the accommplisments I leave. Yet, I do not fear my afterdeath." She pondered. Then smiled an hour or so later, when we depareted.
      When a person expresses his opinion for his life, my opinion has no standing, and vice versa. Yet, the input can prompt me to change.
      When I think I am entering a serious discussion of opinion, I start with, "I do not know the truth and the most important thing to me about you is your opinion."
      You prompt me to consider the modification, "I do not know the truth, and do not expect you to. However, I am vitally interested in exchanging each of our opinions."
      I hope past contibutors read our dialogue.
      Phil
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        Sep 9 2011: "I do not know the truth, and do not expect you to. However, I am vitally interested in exchanging each of our opinions."

        That's a good attitude to have, but I don't know how effective it would be to state it at the start of a conversation. There's very little I can do that will affect another person's rhetorical habits and atitudes.

        I used to ask people, "Can you listen with an open mind?" and they always said "Yes". And then they didn't.

        The only part of a conversation I can really control is my half. And I've found that I can quickly estimate how open-minded the other person is. I'm sure they can do the same for me. So any meta-comment I make in advance about the discussion process might be a waste of breath UNLESS it's proposing a particular approach to the discussion.

        Of course, that often fails, too. I once challenged a born-again Christian to a debate that should have been very easy for him. All he had to do was answer my questions "Yes" or "No". My very first question was, "Do you believe that there exist Muslims who are just as sure as you that they have the true religion?" That was my FIRST question and he refused to follow the agreed-upon rules by answering Yes or No. I guess it was subconsciously obvious to him that a truthful answer carried awkward implications.

        In line with this thread's subject: could I respect someone like that Christian? No. Indeed, I couldn't even tolerate him after that, so I walked away.
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          Sep 9 2011: Thank you for the affirmation; I don't think I wrote accurately.
          "I do not know the truth" establishes that I can only express opinion. Then, when my opinion strokes what they feel is self-contradiction (for example, their god is omniscient but changes attitudes) and they become red-faced or offensive, I relieve the anxiety by reminding them I did not express the truth--only opinion. I don't say it's not me that is pressuring them--it's reality.
          My role is to help them face reality and be prepared to face it myself. See my dialogue with Mr. Levy. I will not walk away from someone who is willing to exchange heart-felt opinion; unless they announce termination--they do not want to hear more from me. I obey.
          Every time I meet my ultra-liberal neighbor, it seems he attempts to make me feel inferior but cannot.
          A couple years ago, not knowing he was an atheist (whatever that means to him), I said, "Hey, Jack, I just read my first-ever book on atheism and thought it was great! It's David Eller's Natural Atheism; have you read it?”
          Jack answered, "Phil, I am an atheist; I considered all the issues and don't want to consider them again."
          Shocked, I said, "Wow. That's a leap of faith I could not take."
          He looked puzzled and walked away.
          It’s OK, though, because regarding opinion about your life, nobody else has status. He is an atheist; I don’t know if he gave my thought about faith any consideration.
          Nevertheless, I look forward to my next conversation with him and hope it will involve opinion, because nothing else about him matters to me (since he is in good health).
          For all I know, in my afterdeath, I may find myself before a pearly gate overseen, not by St. Peter, but by Jesus. I do not think so but am prepared for it. I REALLY do not know.
          Thank you for your gentility.
          Phil
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      Sep 12 2011: Timothy, you invoke another interesting question. Would both parties admitting "We both may be wrong," discourage conversation? Or, does it a facilitate freely exchanging ideas?
      When someone knows the truth there's no need for opinion--no use for it. With so many satellite views of the earth, who wants to seriously consider or debate its "flatness"?
      How do you view these ideas?
      Phil
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        Sep 12 2011: Phillip, the only thing I can be sure of is that I am conscious. After that, all certainty is a matter of degree.

        Person A can say, "I know for a fact that the Earth is a sphere" and be ready to defend that well-documented "truth" to the death. Then Person B comes along and points out that the Earth is actually an oblate spheroid. Then Person C (who has just seen The Matrix) points out that we have no evidence to suggest that we are NOT living in a computer simulation and perhaps the "sphere" shape is simply a fiction of the master program. Then Person D (who has studied fractals and philosophy) points out that while the planet is smooth it isn't PERFECTLY smooth and thus we can't even measure its circumference! Person E mentions the dynamism of plate tectonics and argues that calculus outweighs mere geometry. Person F brings up an objection I haven't thought up, yet. Person G counters with something I don't even know!

        I hesistate to say I'm sure of anything, because I could be partially or fatally wrong or both. This is not a cop-out and it's not nihilism. It's called willingness to change in the light of new information. That's the attitude that (to me) makes science more trustworthy than those relgious types who will tell you that they "know" how things are.

        Having said all this, I can agree that — loosely speaking — we live on a sphere.
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          Sep 12 2011: If two parties agree they do not know, is their incentive to exchange opinions diminished?
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        Sep 13 2011: Phillip, you wrote: "If two parties agree they do not know, is their incentive to exchange opinions diminished?"

        It's likely that each has some relevant data, or know where they can get some. Of course, if we're talking about the real rather than the ideal, there's nothing to stop two people with bad data, bias and misinformation from pooling their resources to produce and then agree upon an absurdly flawed conclusion.
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          Sep 13 2011: I don't get the feeling this is a dialogue between equals trying to explore an idea.
          I feel like you are teaching me.
          If so, I don't accept the lessons.
          I wonder: is the statement, "Neither of us knows, otherwise we would not have earned our opinions," a conversation stopper?
          Phil
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        Sep 13 2011: I don't understand the sentence, "Neither of us knows, otherwise we would not have earned our opinions." How does someone "earn" an opinion?
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          Sep 13 2011: Beginning with Merriam-Webster online, it seems “opinion” means, “a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter.”The key is “formed.”
          “Earned,” expresses working to form opinion as opposed to easier ways, such as adopting a convention, accepting indoctrination, relying on first impressions, etc.
          For example, it is easy to accept the image the sun will come up tomorrow but a little harder to realize the earth rotates toward the East, "up" and "East" both being conventions.
          So why does it matter? Merely to stay focused on physical reality yet embrace convention with understanding.I hold 'earned" to be my view for me and not anything I would impose on someone else yet perceive that many people consciously earn their opinions.
          Phil
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        Sep 13 2011: Ah, I see what you're saying, and it raises an awkward issue — one that I've never heard anybody but me raise (and even then, only once in a video I made). Specifically, it's the fact that what some people consider "earns" the validity of their opinion is not accepted as such by the other party.

        The example I give in my video (see YouTube, user DDSeever, video title "Atheism Fail") is that Believers subject their belief to validation via the results they get from adopting that belief. While their results are subjective, they can nonetheless say, with confidence, "This makes my life better than it was before I believed." This, to them, is cogent data, and I see my fellow non-believers rejecting it out-of-hand all the time. I try to find some point of agreement, but when faced with, say, a fundamentalist, it's very difficult to do so.

        On a related note, a Biblical literalist will spend huge amounts of time correlating the prophecies of the Bible. They build up, in their minds, an insurmountable representation of consistency and reliability for Biblical prophecy. I have not found it possible to break through this wall of scholarship unless the Believer already has SOME doubts to be expanded.

        Thus, what constitutes an "earned" opinion does not, in my view, also represent a valid opinion, or even one that deserves respect. Significantly, I DO reject some beliefs out-of-hand EVEN IF I cannot identify a specific weakness in the individual's opinion.

        So, for example, I'll tell somebody "No, that 'psychic' did NOT accurately tell you about past lives" or "No, that guy seeking your investment did NOT invent perpetual motion." I will not bother to deconstruct the assertion because I've heard the convoluted arguments hundreds of times.

        Life is short, so I have to take some shortcuts. Some may call that bias, and they'll be right. Who knows what I might miss?
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          Sep 13 2011: It seems you continue to “miss” my message, in this case by equivocating for your purpose “earn opinion” to “’earn’ validity of opinion.” (The equivocation did not take with me, though.) I wonder what motivates equivocation.
          The opinions I earn are mine, and it matters not a whit to me if the other party has any regard for my opinion. I do not seek his scrutiny, judgment, approval, verification, or other affirmation. And the last thing I want is for him to change his opinion on my account! Let him decide if he needs change.
          What I do want from another person is his opinion. If it’s opposite of mine, I say so, but express empathy for his opinion, because I do not know the truth. Mimicking one of Gisela McKay’s points, in the debate between theists and atheists, I am neutral.
          It was a pleasure to watch the video, but it does not impress me. The person who would, by reason, ruin another person’s inspiration and motivation may earn a woeful future. It’s a leap of faith I cannot take.
          And who can tell where, on his path to psychological maturity, a person may be.
          I am happy to constantly earn my opinion, for my sake, and the heart of my effort is reading, listening, and writing. If invited, I also speak.
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          Sep 13 2011: Could "valid opinion" be a contradiction of terms?
          I know "valid" is a good word, but the combination with "opinion" seems out of place.
          How can others evaluate or judge what is in another person's mind?
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        Sep 13 2011: I am obviously missing your point. I simply do not understand the way you are using the word "earn". Does anybody besides you use it in this manner, or can you direct my attention to a relevant dictionary defintion? (I dislike discussions that hinge on dictionaries, but in this case I'm asking for it.)

        Your question about "valid opinion" is an interesting one! I've never thought about it that way, but it could indeed be argued that an opinion can be non-valid only from the point of the view of a person not holding the opinion. I don't know if that makes it contradiction of terms, or a category error, or what.

        For the sake of clarity, then, I will put it this way: I find some opinions not worth deconstructing. I should add that it's not simply a question of the first-glance merits of the opinion. If the person does not appear to be open to change then the discussion is not worth my time. (To retain the original thread of this topic: such people do not earn my respect.)

        I try to cut people slack, though, and occasionally it works out. Last week somebody here on TED asked if telekinesis actually exists. I trotted out the standard skeptical counterarguments then braced for the standard counter-counterarguments. Yawn. To my utter astonishment the fellow thanked me and came to the conclusion I'd promoted. I'm not accustomed to somebody asking a question like that without already having decided on the "right" answer!
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          Sep 14 2011: Merriam-Webser online has " to receive as return for effort and especially for work done."
          Thus, I earn my opinions through my effort and my work.
          Does Merriam-Webster as I quoted it work for you?
          If not, what?
          Regardless, can you in complete freedom answer this question?
          What is your motive for equivocating "earn opinion” to “’earn’ validity of opinion?”
          Phil
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        Sep 14 2011: I'm sorry, but I just don't see what you're driving at. I do not see how an opinion can be received as return for effort or work done. An opinion is a particular correlation of information, not a reward or recompense.

        It may be that you are referring back to my saying that people get my respect by earning it. If that's the case, then I mean that I can see that they did the work. But if you mean that in some sense they "earn" the opinion itself, then I'm utterly lost. Actually, I've never heard anybody use the word "earn" that way.
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          Sep 14 2011: Thanks.
          Let's try 'form” opinion. I form my opinions through my effort and my work, not by adopting someone else’s opinion or accepting perception from my own experience.
          Going back to your words, “Specifically, it's the fact that what some people consider "earns" the validity of their opinion is not accepted as such by the other party.”
          Even though I have watched the video, the sentence is not meaningful to me. Could you perhaps re-word the thought?
          Phil
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        Sep 14 2011: I'll massively re-word the sentence. Different people have different standards of validation for their opinions. Scientifically-oriented people shy away from subjective validation, and in most cases this produces top-notch science. However, in some cases it leads to absurdities, as with the Behaviourists, who treated the mind like a black box that nobody could (or should) penetrate.

        Subjective reporting — self-reporting, as I called it in the video — is always suspect. This problem is familiar to anybody who has attempted to proof-read their own manuscript and then had a friend find lots of additional errors!

        So it's wise to be suspicious of subjective data but unwise to pretend it has no existence. Where do we draw the line? In my video on YouTube I suggested that the atheists of YouTube were taking the "pretend it doesn't exist" approach. That's fine for them, but if they are seeking to convince others they have to take into account how the other people think.

        It could be said that "respecting" (or honouring) the way the other person thinks makes it more likely that you can prove they're stupidly wrong. This strikes me as funny, but it does not make it any less true. But this is not the sense in which I used the word "respect" earlier in this thread. If I think somebody is "stupidly wrong" I will not respect them. I can, however, stoop down to their level to discover whether or not they're actually smarter than me but I missed it.

        I don't think I can explain myself any better than that.
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          Sep 14 2011: “Different people have different standards of validation for their opinions.”
          There’s that contradiction again: The only way a person can validate “their opinion” is through discovery. Then, he must be alert for new instruments or new viewpoints that would turn the discovery obsolete.
          I wouldn’t call it “stupid” (because, for example, Albert Einstein did it) but a worse mistake is to assume a paradigm is correct.
          But the discovery is available to everyone, so there is no unknown as basis for opinion. For example, dinosaur fossils are continually dug, so there is no excuse for holding an opinion about dinosaur existence. A good response is, “Hey. Get thee to a Museum of Natural History.”
          For the unknowns, it seems to me exchanging opinion is worthwhile, as both parties have the potential to learn. For example, consider the question, what will happen to Phil’s soul after Phil’s body dies?
          Many people would begin to talk about the intellectual construct they favor. However, I prefer to examine the basic assumption: souls are real. I don’t know, but think they are not real—exist only in minds of believers in soul.
          My no-souls diversion is not well received by most people, but I am grateful to anyone who debates it with me. They are giving me a chance to learn, not necessarily today, but perhaps after the discussion has percolated in their/my creativity. By listening carefully to their explanation, I may learn something. Regardless, I enjoy sharing, as long as there is joy.
          “Stupid” is a foreign word to me. I think if I encountered a stupid person it would be humbling and hope I would try to talk at the level for their current point on their path.
          It seems to me we are in a circle and should stop, if you agree.
          I'd be happy to discuss something else.
          Phil
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        Sep 14 2011: Agreed. I'm done.
  • Sep 8 2011: Your cat looks like one of mine named patches, I've really enjoyed the rich conversation and I now agree, respect may be the more appropriate word. It's great to be able to come on this site and learn from others. I guess I got stuck on acceptence because I was thinking of us as human beings and not thinking of our opinions. It is sometimes hard for me because our society does not accept me with my illness, maybe one day they will learn to.

    James
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      Sep 8 2011: I’m sure Patches is as lovable as Spunky. We have had cats for 25 years, five at the peak, and I never met one I did not like. It’s amazing how many different personalities we have encountered—each unique.
      All people need to do is consider your contributions despite your illness and they could sense appreciation.
      On many occasions, people are in pain or frustration or conflict, etc., and cannot think to recognize your graceful conduct.
      It seems to me personal affliction is part of each human life. Each of us has a unique opportunity to rise above our affliction. Many do not, and some become wards of society. Some are helped to independence. People who overcome affliction seem motivated and are inspiring to others.
      Each human seems to feel rejection from time to time, and again, that sense offers an opportunity to solve the problem. Two ways I cope are 1) remind myself, "Hey, Phil, after all, you are a good guy," and 2) rely on my closest friends--those people who have taken the trouble to write a book or article. I actually debate them and have records of my debates. I just wrote to Gisela about my debate with Abraham Lincoln, for example. Sometimes, I complain to my wife—cry on her shoulder if you will. Her response gives the other person the benefit of the doubt, which always shames me. It’s not what I expect, yet is what I need. If I object to her response, she says, “You asked my opinion.”
      Please scan the other dialogues in this conversation and contribute until the time is up. Perhaps start a new branch of discussion or another. I’d like to consider participating.
      Phil
      • Sep 9 2011: Hi PhillipThank you for your comment, it made me feel better as I get really frustrated when people react negatively to my illness. Patches is one of two and a great cats, when I got her someone had shot her and I had to get the pellett removed, thankfully she was okay. I will do my best to contribute to TED in new ways, thank you for the encouragement.
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    Sep 7 2011: OK, see, I'm operating from the definition of 'respect' as:
    "Admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements"
    "A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements"
    "regard highly; think much of"

    And others are seemingly respecting people for the sole reason that they can breath, which, frankly, is insane (using that definition).

    These discussions would go more smoothly if people actually defined their usage.

    What are you actually using "respect" to mean?
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      Sep 7 2011: Great question!
      Merriam-Webster seems useful:
      2: an act of giving particular attention : CONSIDERATION

      3a : high or special regard : ESTEEM.

      Please consider what I claim regarding first association: Phil Beaver is a human being and member of the community of humankind. I do not plan to reduce my principal association again in my lifetime.

      I have two secondary associations: member of my family and citizen of the United States. I have third associations, such as citizen of Louisiana and of Baton Rouge; member of Bally Fitness; retired chemical engineer; member of Kenilworth Civic Association; moderator of Kenilworth Subdivision News; contributor to letters to the editor in my city’s newspaper; most recently member of TED; etc., but they and the secondary association are subordinate to the community of humankind. Humankind gets a subordinate portion of my time, because my family depends on me. My country requires a lot of my resources. However, in both secondary endeavors I hope humankind benefits.

      Even though it is an American phrase, defined in the Preamble to the US Constitution, I feel that as a human being I am of We the People among humankind, because I trust and am committed to unity, justice, tranquility, defense, prosperity, liberty, and continuity for all humans.

      Since I am a member of the community of humankind, other humans are due my respect or consideration or esteem. Moreover, I appreciate the association.

      To admire requires discernment or evaluation. The other person may prefer privacy to admiration. Since admiration can only come with awareness, it does not seem to fit.

      Again, help me see what I am missing.

      Phil
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        Sep 8 2011: Hmm.

        I have now considered the idea of consideration, and have concluded that some things (not this, obviously) don't actually merit being considered. Frankly, I have seen TED topics that don't warrant my spending any time on them whatsoever. It may be a lack of personal interest, it may be that the subject matter has been covered multiple times already.

        I'm not sure that anything or anyone is automatically due anything, for any reason. Still considering this.

        ***
        It's great that some people are on a personal path of loving everything and everyone, but the moment that they start unilaterally deciding that others need to act the same way - they might be lining themselves up for disappointment.

        Stupid people actually hurt my head. (That's in general, not a remark on TED.)

        I accept that they have opinions, but I don't accept that I have to listen to them, any more than I have to sit by the smelly person. As long as it is me who gets up and moves away rather than chasing them away, I think I have made a reasonable compromise.

        If they get up and follow me, all bets are off.

        Other people's entitlement issues are really not my problem.

        So, I guess I'm back to thinking it's earned. I may give people my esteem/admiration/consideration or even just my attention, but I don't owe them it.

        ***
        Maybe having a teeny little attention span works for me in this regard. Despite the fact it causes me pain to focus on something boring and stupid in the moment, 20 seconds after it's over (max) something more interesting will come along.

        It's also why I don't/can't dwell on jerks. (Life lesson: it's never a good idea to tell someone who is having a meltdown that you are going to forget they exist shortly.)

        I actually live in a freakishly happy, sunny little bubble just because I walk away from dumbasses. I own my company, so I don't have to put up with them. It's probably why I periodically seek out conflicting ideas online.
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          Sep 8 2011: Speaking for me, this conversation appreciates your contributions.
          Considering a possible community of humans – in peace and harmony -- “consideration” seems a good word. Also, “intolerance” is a needed word.
          As you point out, mere being is beside the point—it’s common to all. And the uncertainty in reality or truth is what humans face and answer to: when truth or reality is known, there is no need for opinion. So we could, perhaps should focus on opinion.
          Thus, we might have a “quality line” of behaviors toward other humans, which at this point in humanity’s path toward psychological maturity seems to include, in decreasing harm to increasing benefits: violence, abuse, tolerance, intolerance, consideration, reconciliation, respect, appreciation, and understanding.
          “Acceptance” might be added with the clarification that it implies accepting that the other party’s opinion is what it is. However, in trying to accept “acceptance,” I considered President Abraham Lincoln’s opinion that God was responsible for the Civil War. (See Abraham Lincoln, letter to Albert G. Hodges, April 4, 1864.) Lincoln was the most powerful US politician of his time and if he had been as true to the US Constitution as he claimed, he might have proposed the 13th Amendment in 1858, instead of claiming that the Declaration of Independence in effect trumps the Constitution. If so, he might have averted the Civil War, perhaps at the expense of his 1860 election. Please recall, I am writing my opinion, not the truth: I do not accept Lincoln’s opinion that God was responsible for the Civil War.
          My friend Kishon Seth, suggested “reconciliation” and we located it after “consideration.” It represents another evaluative process involving both parties, and seems worthy of discussion.
          I feel like creating a table of synonyms for the above list and see what that teaches and will do so.
          Phil
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          Sep 10 2011: I am compelled to appreciate Abraham Lincoln’s opinion.
          Lincoln wrote in April, 1864, “Now, at the end of three years struggle the nation's condition is not what either party, or any man devised, or expected. God alone can claim it.”
          In his 2nd Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865, he said, “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.” He added, “Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth . . . be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn . . . still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
          Philosopher William James said, in 1893, “What law and reason were unable to accomplish, had now to be done by that uncertain and dreadful dispenser of God’s judgments, War — War, with its abominably casual, inaccurate methods, destroying good and bad together, but at last able to hew a way out of intolerable situations, when through man’s delusion of perversity every better way is blocked.”
          The South Carolina Declaration of Secession (December 24, 1860) concludes with the statement, “All hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.”
          Perhaps Lincoln was referring to belief and not actually blaming God. Perhaps he was willing to appear to blame God for the hope of reconciling the opposing people with prayer target in common.
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      Sep 7 2011: To be considerate toward somebody or something: to show consideration or thoughtfulness in relation to somebody or something That is the other definition you have missed out of the dictionary But the problem is not everybody is considerate of other people if the world was it would be a happier place
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        Sep 8 2011: But you can be considerate by simply letting someone pass by [insert rant about people who walk five across on the sidewalk here].

        There's no actual obligation to engage them.

        I can be considerate by simply NOT typing "wow, that was the stupidest thing I have read in ages" (that's an example, that's not a response to your post) and it in no way means I respect that person or their opinion.

        Those two are clearly not semantic equivalents.
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        Sep 8 2011: The conversation has led me to separate the world we live in from its improvement. At this point, I am trying to accomodate all attitudes the conversations accept and later may try to reduce to where humankind might go. For example, we'd like to have no viiolence or abuse.
        "Consideration" seems to belong in the list.
        Phil
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        Sep 12 2011: "Consideration" and "thoughfulness" are now in the array of words. Thank you. Phil
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    Sep 7 2011: @ Phillip- By grace I meant unmerited favor withuot expecting anything in return. There isnt any reason that I can think of that I shouldnt respect everyone. If I refuse to respect anyone befor they have "earned" it then in my opinion I am not being a graceful and that is somehting that I try to strive for.
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      Sep 7 2011: Jacob,
      Thank you.
      I think I understand.
      By treating the other party as best you can, you send/reflect what you receive from elsewhere--unmerited favor. It does not matter that you may never encounter that person again.
      One concern, though: why is respect unmerited favor? I think people demand respect.
      Don't miss the idea for "appreciation," by Mr. Levy, herein. It leads to progressive behaviors that exclude abuse and harm: tolerance; respect; appreciation; love.
      I would try to add grace but don't know how--especially so as to facilitate sincerity accross cultures and psychological maturities. Maybe you know a way.
      Phil
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        Sep 7 2011: I see what your saying Phillip and I agree. I beleive that all life should be given respect simply because it is a "life form" No one chose to be born into the world- it just happened so in this way everyone is on the same playing field and therefore the things in wich they require respect, dignity, worth, love etc are theirs to have. It is not my right to deny anyone anything when it is in my power and I am in need of it as much as they are. I dont think that would be fair. Anything "good" {and Im almost sure everyone would define respect as a good thing} should be given wthout measure.
        That being said it is a little more tricky on a personal level. As I thought about it I was trying to think of reasons I would NOT respect someone and what I came up with is if A: I felt disrespected or invalued by them and B. If they were not treating other people nicely. I am sure there are some other reasons: let me think on it more and Ill get back to you.
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          Sep 7 2011: You got me thinking, Jacob.
          In my seventh decade, I still have to remind myself not to react to my perceptions of other people’s attitudes toward me. And when other people are not treating other people nicely, I say so—firmly but lovingly.
          Twenty years ago, my director (boss’s boss) would pass me in the hallway, and I would say, “Good morning.” He never responded. I asked for a meeting with him and told him that engineers like me know he approves their promotions and such coldness spoils his opportunity to motivate. He apologized and said I had to forgive him, because he walks from place to place focusing on a technical problem. Next time I passed him, same thing. I decided his behavior would no longer affect me, so I kept telling him good morning. He never changed. Slowly I am extrapolating that decision—not to let the other person’s behavior affect me to all encounters. It isn’t easy when you did not learn that early in life.
          “Tolerance” is not a good word; “intolerance” is. A couple leaving a restaurant noticed that my wife and I had ordered the desert “Lucky Seven” and apologized for the intrusion but asked if we liked it. Quickly, the lady and my wife recognized past associations. Then, they were sitting at our table. Quickly, the conversation turned to their relationship, which was third potential marriage for both of them. His cheer turned like he was a teenager again. I firmly but politely said, “Bob, you will not like realizing it, but you are out of control. Janice is a wonderful person and a school principal. If you don’t shape up, she’ll dump you.” We did not see them since.
          Getting away with such straight talk without fisticuffs is tricky. Respect is required. I made sure Bob knew I was speaking to him with respect and confidence he would correct his attitude. Such behavior is rare, so It takes mental preparedness, to offer help.
          I look forward to your planned comments.
          Phil
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    Sep 5 2011: In my experience it is the people who have nothing to defend and are ok with being wrong are generally the ones who offer the most respect and tolerance.
    And also people who have a humble spirit that dont feel an overwheming need to respond right away when someone says or does something they disagree with. It is no secret to anyone that most people enjoy the sound of their own voice or opinion more so than others. In a community forum like Ted I think everyone should take great care when offering thier "opinion" on something. The main goal is communicatioon and community-from wich comes service and compassion. Someone can be the most brilliant thinker-philospher or whatever but if they miss this then the plot is lost. Further more it doesnt matter how right someone thinks they are about anyhting because at the end of the day we are all just specs on the canvas.
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      Sep 6 2011: "The people who have nothing to defend and are ok with being wrong are generally the ones who offer the most respect and tolerance."
      In the above sentence, what is your meaning of "tolerance"? Maybe think of a synonym.
      'It doesn’t matter how right someone thinks they are about anything."
      To me this is a quotable quote. My mind could have used it the other night while I was listening to Billy Graham's Ted talk. I would not change his mind, because I only want responsibility for one life--mine. However, I could not come to grips with how I felt, but your thought helps. I doesn't matter what Billy Graham thinks. It doesn't matter what Aristotle thinks. It doesn't matter what Socrates thinks. (Maybe Ralph Waldo Emerson had one good idea. See Divinity School Address.) :-)
      Here's a quick story. My wife is a Louisiana French Catholic. That means she thinks with her head and heart and fits her religion in as best she can. (My opinion, not hers.) She is so kind she knew she had erred one day when she asked our adult daughter, "Holly, do you believe in God?"
      Holly seemed perplexed--later she told me she was mad at the intrusion into her privacy. I intervened by asking my wife, "May I ask Holly a substitute question?"
      Relieved, she answered, "Yes!"
      I asked, "Holly, are you humble?"
      She thought for a minute and said, with emphasis on 'think", "I think I'm humble."
      My wife and I looked at each other with big smiles and did a high five. Holly had left evaluation of her somewhere outside herself.
      She’s still humble.
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    Sep 5 2011: Instead of 'tolerance and respect' as an item, I would include the word ' acceptance' as well.
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      Sep 5 2011: Thank you. How would you include acceptance?
      Phil
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        Sep 5 2011: through better understanding of each others knowledge,culture and religion.Is it possible? I believe it can be a reality if we work hard enough.What do you think?
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          Sep 5 2011: I think we should approach each other with respect for our persons including our own person, respect for each other’s opinions, and respect for reality. With these three provisions, we do not need to have even one word of dialogue (see Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay, "Circles") about our pasts to sense unity. We are human beings and members of the community of humankind and each know the uncertainties that entails.However, if we decide to share our thoughts, we are candidates for the most fun a pair of humans can have—sharing our inspirations, motivations, and methods of dealing with uncertainty. We are candidates to learn from each other.Out of respect for reality, some opinions should not be expressed, unless the other party asks. Since I do not know the truth, the last thing I want to do in dialogue is change the other party’s path. Nor do I want to express an idea the other party is not ready to receive (but sometimes must take risk, since I do not know their path).Take for example my afterdeath—that vast time after my body dies. It’s balanced by my beforelife: I knew nothing then and know nothing now. After I admit that I know nothing about my afterdeath, there is nothing to discuss. Any further considerations can only be speculation, from which neither of us can learn. I do not want to convince anyone to think of afterdeath as I do, in case I am wrong. Therefore, I will consider new opinion.Knowing that my path has improved because of what I learned from others, I am willing to express my opinion if the other wants to hear it. If, consequently, the other changes his path, I am comfortable. If I am convinced he heard my opinion and does not accept it, I want to explore more deeply his opinion, so I can consider change.For example, I always knew my Christian father wanted to be cremated, but having been reared Christian was not prepared for it. A Hindu friend felt my pain and shared his opinions about it. I then changed my opinion--happily faced it.
    • Sep 8 2011: acceptance is the right word. However, i would insist on mutual acceptance as an alternative to tolerance, which is generally unilateral.

      That's what i mean: it is "tolerance" when, for example, natives of a country let the immigrants preserve their cultural identity without insisting on a certain scope of integration. Like what is in Japan against Gaijin, in Europe and Americas against slavic and Muslim people, on the Middle East agains the immigrants from non-Muslim countries.

      "Acceptance" means - OK, you have a different culture, and want to preserve it. But do PLEASE follow the local rules and remember your neighbors having the same rights to keep their lifestyle unintact.

      And what is "mutual acceptance" designates a kind of "don't ask don't tell" principle. I ought to accept and respect your cultural difference only until you accept and respect mine.

      Here's the example. Disclaimer: I apologize, if my example will sound harsh, but I do not intend to hurt or offend anyone.

      Situation: a guy from a Middle Eastern country lives in the U.S. According to what is OK in his native country, he nearly abuses the ladies not dressed like Shariah-following wives or "decent" girls. Moreover, he follows the middle eastern tradition and slays a ram for Qurban-Bayram celebration (the slaying is performed on the front lawn).

      Tolerance: Well, that's ok in his country. Don't fight back on him, just make sure you look more "decent" in a Middle Eastern way.

      Acceptance: The guy is litigated for sexual abuse and animal cruelty, though the verdict is somehow softened because of one's cultural background.

      Mutual acceptance: The guy is litigated for both offenses, and the verdict is equal for him and a similar native offender. In case of a recurring violation, the person is offered out from the country.
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        Sep 8 2011: Please see past dialogues on “acceptance,” which does not seem to fit.
        Let’s study if we two can share opinions about one issue: separation of church and state.
        We mutually propose a society, to be governed by written laws that can be amended when injustice is discovered, wherein both our families are committed to and trust all members to fulfill seven secular goals: unity, justice, tranquility, defense, prosperity, liberty, and continuity for future generations (my understanding of the Preamble to the US Constitution).
        First, please consider these goals and propose any change needed to accommodate your personal culture. You know yours and I know mine.
        I know nothing of governance anywhere but here. Also, only after my children were adults and I retired did I study America’s founding history. I study it continuously and am excited that it offers people of the world refuge from persecution. I worked 35 years with people from over 40 ethnic backgrounds, and many of us literally love one another.
        Because of its distinct history, America’s laws protect religious beliefs and practices, but not at the expense of other laws. For example, if people are religiously excited over abortion and block access to an abortion clinic, they are arrested and suffer financial loss if not incarceration. If they commit murder to express opposition, they may lose freedom or life. This protection from harm from religious violence comes under a controversial practice called separation of church and state.
        America learned the need for such laws from events like the Salem “witch” executions, titled, in the historical underground, “Salem Witch Trials of 1692.”
        With agreement on the seven goals or modification thereof, I propose we consider whether or not your culture would accommodate the American culture of separation of church and state.
        I abhor the statement: this is America—love it or leave it. I cling to the Preamble, which is radical and controverial but wonderful.
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        Sep 10 2011: Perhaps a different approach would be easier. Also, it might help if I translate my writing into Russion, on Google, and you write in Russian, then I'll translate what you send using Google. :-)
        I reviewed the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Perhaps I could favor it to achieve peace and harmony. (One provision I noticed I did not agree with, though: I think children should be protected from parents who would expose the children to bad practices, such as handling poisionous snakes to show they are faithful to a religion.)
        Anyway, let's presume we could reach agreement on the UN statements.
        Please consider Article 12: "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."
        Slaughtering an animal on the front lawn, in full view of neighbors. does not constitute privacy and is therefore not defensible according to Article 12.
        In America, it is common for some elected officials to pray in public or have a mnister pray in public. Since prayer excludes or oppresses the rights of citizens who do not condone the practice, it should be done in private only.
        Neither slaughtering animals in public nor praying in public should be condoned in social governance. If necessary, the government's monopoly on force should be applied in both cases.
        I would appreciate learning your opinion as to the pertinence of my response and your comments on my opinion.
        Phil
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        Sep 10 2011: In Russian:
        Возможно, другой подход был бы легче. Кроме того, это может помочь, если я перевожу мое письмо на русский язык, на Google, и вы пишете на русском языке, то я буду перевести то, что, отправленное с Google. :-)
        Я рассмотрел Декларации Организации Объединенных Наций по правам человека. Возможно, я мог бы пользу оно для достижения мира и гармонии. (Один предоставление Я заметил, что я не согласен, хотя:. Я думаю, что дети должны быть защищены от родителей, которые бы подвергать детей плохой практики, такие как обработка poisionous змей показать, что они верны религии)
        В любом случае, давайте предположим, мы могли бы достичь согласия по ООН заявления.
        Пожалуйста, обратите внимание Статья 12: ". Никто не может подвергаться произвольному вмешательству в его личную и семейную жизнь, неприкосновенность жилища или тайну корреспонденции или на его честь и репутацию Каждый человек имеет право на защиту закона от такого вмешательства или таких посягательств".
        Убой животных на лужайке перед домом, на виду у соседей. не является неприкосновенность частной жизни и, следовательно, не оправданным в соответствии со статьей 12.
        В Америке она является общей для некоторых избранных должностных лиц, чтобы молиться в общественных или mnister молиться в общественных местах. С молитвой исключает или угнетает прав граждан, которые не оправдывают практику, это должно быть сделано только в частных.
        Ни убоя животных в общественных, ни молиться публично, должны быть оправданы в социальном управлении. При необходимости, монополия государства на силу, должны быть применены в обоих случаях.
        Я хотел бы знать ваше мнение по поводу уместности моего ответа и ваши комментарии на мой взгляд.
        Фил
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    Sep 15 2011: From generous dialogue with Timothy Campbell, it occurs to me this conversation would be enriched by debating beneficial alternatives to "opinion." "Preference" came to mind.
    For example, I want to draw attention to the people’s insufficient regard for the Preamble to the US Constitution and bemusement by "freedom of religion"; nevertheless, of the countries I have studied/visited, I prefer America. I acquired that preference by studying alternatives, so it is not simply the fact that I was born here. I earned my opinion.
    In another example, I have studied the origins of the intellectual construct "soul." Plato was merely commenting on an old idea. The oldest writings about soul might come from Indian writings--some 7,000 years old or from Egyptian writing--some 10,000 years ago. However, they comment on an old idea. Caves in France have paintings that are 40,000 years old. Language is at least 150,000 years old. The oldest tools found so far are some 1.8 million years old. So how old is the thought the there is another world--a supernatural, superior one--one Plato thought provides the form for this world. Aristotle recorded thoughts and the West prefers modifications. However, I prefer to think there is no such thing: soul. Therefore, it seems to me after my body dies, my only legacy will be what I contributed to or distracted from humankind's progress. That preference motivates and inspires me to help my neighbors and my posterity. I earned the opinion I hold.
    In a fun example, I think 30 g dark chocolate with Almonds is an excellent substitute for dessert. Perhaps I am a cancer survivor (3.5 years from lung surgery to remove a carcinoma followed by chemotherapy). Also, I ward off diabetes with 500 mg Metformin, 2/day. Yet, I prefer to “smell the roses,” as I fight for life; I WANT my opinion about dark chocolate up to 1/day.
    It'd be futile to aim to change my preferences.
    Please comment about "preference" versus "opinion," and more if you like.
    Phil
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    Sep 13 2011: I agree Philip although I think that tolerance is part of respect.

    How do we nurture respect? First we have to understand our true identity. We start with our core identities: we are creatures of great worth (conscious human being (or God's child, as many of us believe), we have great intellect and good will. We affirm this to ourselves and to each other - this is the basis of our deep respect, deep love, moral sense and strong self-confidence.

    As we live our lives and move on with our relationships, these moments, usually mundane, are opportunities for extending appreciation and encouragement to deepen further our love and happiness and to inspire us to reach our greatest potential. We take interest and notice any improvement of what I call our external identities (our looks, education, skill level and reputation or integrity). We appreciate and inspire each other to achieve the great potential of our core identities.
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      Sep 14 2011: I appreciate your opinion, Joe. However, try saying to someone, "I tolerate your thought."
      I'm coming from this exprience. I wrote to Mr. Levy (this conversation), "I respect your opinion," thinking it might seem trite to use his word, "appreciate," which he convinced me to appreciate.
      Before I pushed "send," I thought better of it and changed "respect" to "appreciate."
      Five minutes later, I wrote to him about how much better "appreciate" felt.
      "Respect" contians baggage, for example, but still disagree. "Appreciate" allows one to still disagree, but carries so much more positive cargo. For example, "I appreciate you sharing your opinion," if nothing more.
      But "tolerate"; maybe you can send that message and feel good, but I could not.
      Hey ! Did you see Gisela McKay's kind publication of the link to the array of words generated in this conversation?
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/41367556@N08/sets/72157627661985396/ .
      Phil
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    Sep 13 2011: I prefer rather than to be tolerant be respectful, everything in this world asks for its respect fir instance if you don't respect money it will not be in your hands so what is respecting your money in this moment? keep your money safe, as you have earned it value each and every penny of it, this is where many lack. Like this there are a lot of things in this world which demand respect.
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      Sep 13 2011: We appreciate your opinion and the time to express it.
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    Sep 12 2011: I completed the draft of the array of words generated by this conversation. I have it arranged in five categories each with a twelve column quality line from negative to neutral to positive and each column with as many as thirteen synomyms or competing ideas as words. What I have is a microsoft spreadsheet, which I do not know how to upload.
    I attempted to upload a picture of the spreadsheet (attached), but missed on margins and don't see it as legible.
    Someone please suggest a solution.
    Phil
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      Sep 13 2011: How about http://imageshack.us/ or www.flickr.com?

      I'd be interested in seeing it.
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        Sep 13 2011: Thank you so much. I am as novice there as here and could not find the pics.
        But they are there. My username on flickr.com is prbspics. I uploaded them under "anyone can see."
        Filenames are "Empathy quality Lines 1" and "Empathy quality Lines 2."
        If you find them, you will see five categories, and maybe there should be more.
        It seems there are two key categories: attitudes toward a person . . . and attitudes toward a person's opinion. The other categories provide parking places for words that are in the same ballpark but not in the infield, to use a baseball metaphor.
        You have often talked of neutral, and it seems the pivot/zero column should be the neutral attitude that in a world with peace and harmony two humans would mutually share on first meeting, regardless of each party's psychological maturity. (Even in an ideal world, each newborn must be allowed to acquire humankind's understanding at the newborn's time of birth through perhaps adolescence to young adulthood then contribute as humankind advances.)
        As I distributed words to the five categories, I tried to align them in the columns for "attitudes toward a person's opinion." Thus, the word "empathy," may appropriately represent the point of equality for the entire array of words, and all words in that column are colored blue.
        Mildly thinking, the table is incomplete. Also, I did not carefully place the words--this is only a starting point.
        I am very interested in your comments.
        If flickr doesn't help, I have written TED.com for help, and in that process will learn if I can email all contributors to this conversation and attach the Microsoft Excel file.
        Phil
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    Sep 10 2011: Interesting debate to follow. Especially Gisela's arguments seem quite useful

    Personally, I can think of people who just don't deserve to be tolerated or respected (mass murderers, people who start genocides, trade in women or slaves,...).
    Though I think one should be as respectful as possible.

    I cannot give a clear demarcation for when respect can be given and when it's inappropriate to respect a person.
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      Sep 10 2011: Among Gisela’s contributions was the question, what is your definition of “respect”? The need for intolerance has been touched by many contributors, and Gisela’s latest message prompted me to add “intolerance” in the quality line; also to delete from consideration the person (which it seems should be respected merely for being) to focus on opinion. I would have done that from the beginning but didn’t know the lessons from this conversation.
      It seems your list has to do with behavior, not opinion. I can appreciate someone’s harsh opinion as long as they don’t act on it. For example, a person may be so convinced that abortion is murder he thinks abortion doctors should be executed. I think such opinion comes from disrespecting each the woman who chose not to remain pregnant, the privacy of her decision, and the child who might live without loving care. However, I see no problem with a person being extremely opposed to abortion, as long as they don’t act—don’t take it upon themselves to execute doctors.
      I think the opinion is wrong. However, I do not want to force my opinion on the other party. I published several essays in defense of a pregnant woman’s right to privacy in her decision about bearing an unwanted pregnancy; hoping people who would force her would change their own minds. My letters, I hope, reflect the utmost respect for opposing opinion.
      We may respect the opinions that motivated a person to murder, yet he must suffer the punishment if convicted.
      Also, if punishment does not lead to death by execution or long incarceration, I think they should receive accommodation for reconciliation.
      In normal behavior problems, like job performance, there should be recognition, correction, and reconciliation. “Walking away” from the person should be the uncommon.
      Indeed the conversation flows and has branches. You have prompted me to realize that beyond the person and their opinion is their behavior, perhaps Gisela’s point.
      Phil
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        Sep 11 2011: I can think of examples of opinion (speech acts) that do not deserve respect or tolerance at all.
        Speech is behavior ut cannot harm in a physical way (except shouting in one's ear)...
        It can arouse to hatred, anger, signing of dubious contracts, convince people not to get vaccinated, spreading lies and injustice, (bad) propaganda,...

        As such, not all opinions are to be tolerated. It greatly depends on what is said, where and to whom.

        I can imagine that one has even a moral obligation to not only oppose certain opinions, but also not respecting or even tolerating them.

        The pen can be mightier than the sword, so tolerating how the pen is used in any way can be very wrong indeed.

        This does not mean one needs not as respectful or tolerable as possible. It's a fuzzy line, but one can never maximize one moral value without sacrificing on others. As such, a trade-off needs to be found in order to have a good balance between them.
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          Sep 11 2011: We appreciate your thoughtfulness, Christophe.
          They come on a very special day: the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Intelligence agencies had the message: about 20 men are executing a major terrorist attack in America. But the authorities explained, “We did not connect the dots.” Maybe they did not respect the deadly intent of the perpetrators--their intent to kill innocent people.
          As Mayor Blumberg planned New York City’s remembrance, he announced excluding the clergy: Inclusion would demand too many ministers. An Associated Press news article, “Pastors protest lack of prayer,” by Chris Hawley, quotes a reverend, “To exclude [us] from the ceremony was hurtful.” And a visitor from Chicago said, “Religion got us into this problem in the first place, so I think it’s OK.”
          Pitiably, the majority in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, never respected Thomas Jefferson’s idea: among We the People (those who are committed to and trust the seven goals in the Preamble to the US Constitution), it makes no difference if a neighbor is Christian, atheist, or Muslim. See online at http://www.npr.org/2011/09/10/140354442/tennessee-town-grapples-with-sept-11-legacy .
          Jefferson is one of many Founding Fathers whose opinions the majority tolerates--does not respect. Consequently, since 1789, the US Constitution has gradually improved, unfortunately prompted by violence. Labor laws, women’s suffrage, abolition of slavery, protection from lynchings, prohibition, civil rights for black Americans: major American reforms involved violence.
          I do not condone violence yet am grateful for the reforms.
          I think this TED conversation asks how humankind could reach a moral status such that people, who are so animated about perceived injustice that they could explode into violence, are respected. Respecting them seems a prerequisite for restricting them then considering and perhaps addressing their heartfelt concerns.
          Pure hate is intolerable.
          I think your point is, balance is essential, and I agree.
          Phil
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        Sep 11 2011: I think your line may lack the demarcation point, or fulcrum between negative feelings and positive - i.e. the neutral point. It may also be the idea missing in a couple of other threads that are going on (for example the forgive and forget thread).

        For me, it takes as much energy to hate someone - or to disrespect them as to respect them. To interact with them in a negative way is just as much an interaction as praising them.

        I am contemplating a thread that ties these things together - how we (humans) make emotional investments, and how we define those investments/emotions. Hmm.

        OK, here: http://www.ted.com/conversations/5614/do_you_consciously_have_an_emo.html
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          Sep 11 2011: Wonderful! I too cannot discern the pivot point. Also, it is difficult for me to control the scope of my thoughts in response to the TED conversation and the multiple dialogues. My thoughts started with the person and his/her opinion, then reduced to opinion only
          I am working on the line and find myself forced into three lines, titled, Attitudes toward a person, Attitudes toward a person's opinion, and Behavior toward a person, respectively.
          Your thought about emotions and spending energy lend a valuation basis to the analysis. What are the benefits one can receive from empathy instead of hate?
          My work will also list synonyms for the attitude/behaviors in the lines, and I will publish it for comment as soon as I feel I have the first draft. You’ve prodded me. 
          Phil
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    Sep 8 2011: Tolerance is forced. It is not a sincere form of acceptance.

    But respect is also, often, forced. Consider this through dialogue between a mother and a child:

    "But Moommm!" says Billy.
    "Billy, we're eating dinner. Show some respect," says the mother.
    "Gah! Fine." He removes his hat, and recedes to his thoughts of how stupid his mother is. Ever since, Billy never wears his hat at the dinner table, but only in fear of a scolding.

    In life, social pressures plays the role of the mother. Respect has always been regarded in high esteem. (We've all heard "R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me"), so we act respectful, whether we genuinely are or not.

    Respect can seem strained at times, so the question as to its sincerity is not always certain, making for superficial dialogue. (Not all situations- in some.)

    I suggest this; respect is good, but understanding is better. To understand one's circumstances, one's beliefs, you form a genuine respect for their position. If politicians showed more understanding of opposing views, there would be less hostility in the air and more space for agreement.
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      Sep 8 2011: You’ve hit a hot button for me: understanding. (In my writing, I prevent the word “science,” because to fundamentalists it’s like blood to a bull, and it’s my blood they want. I use “understanding” and “technology” and “researcher” to avoid red flags. You will find red flags in notes wherein I quote people who use them, but not in what I write.)
      If I had understood the religion I was reared in—Southern Baptist—I would not have courted my bride, a Louisiana-French Catholic. My family sure frowned on the courting, but I thought two Christians could work out—compromise--a cultural difference. However, the 4th time my Baptist peers freely attested, with my wife present, that Catholics are going to hell, I chose to withdraw. Eventually, I withdrew from religion itself.
      If one of the wonderful, Protestant women I had dated had accepted me before I met my bride, I would never have discovered my preferences, for example, faith in the truth most of which is unknown.
      But here’s the hitch in the story. My wife had to wait 25 years for me to listen when she repeated, “There is no difference between God and Jesus. It’s a mystery; they are identical.”
      Fortunately, she does not agree with Joseph Conrad, who wrote, “Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.”
      We’re in our 42nd year of marriage and I am still discovering her wonder (and maintaining my quests).
      Understandings don’t come easy, and the other party has to agree to the noble work involved. For the vast humanity, most of us better settle for appreciation and such. Yet, I would not discourage anyone capable of understanding.
      Please let me know if I have made sense or keep after your idea or another one.
      Don't miss Mr. Levy's arguments for "appreciation," and think of us as humans in the community of humankind as our prime association.
      Phil
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        Sep 8 2011: Understanding is quite different from believing, but I suppose this is my particular understanding of the word. Examples:

        To believe in god, get born unto a religious family! :) To understand god, look at the circumstances under which the idea was created-- as a simple explanation of the unexplainable as man was developing in ancient times. (Or as a religious person, you would look at what made god the infinite being he is. Why is he so nice?! Why is he so darn jealous too?)

        I believe I understand where you're coming from, but the point I'm trying to make is that considering other people's circumstances (understanding) inspires a deeper respect than plain respect.
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          Sep 8 2011: Thanks, Luke, for the emphasis on “understanding.” I follow your line of thought. My wife “believes” in God (I use “G” because I am referring to what she believes, but would use the lower case to represent your opinion). Let me express a couple points about belief and understanding.
          Modifying words by Abraham Lincoln, I have a belief against belief. There are two kinds of information: realities and intellectual constructs. When humans become frustrated with what is unknown and decide to believe a construct rather than wait for reality, they are wasting life—theirs—unless they are pleased with the practice.
          If you were born into a construct, it’s there and satisfies, so to change would be a waste. That’s the point my wife makes. Mind you, I cannot speak for her, but my version of her position is, “I do not know, but am satisfied with what I think and do not want to work for change. Now, let me go cut some flowers for this vase. And you, Phil, can continue to read and understand, but in the end, you will not know, either.” To her, my reading and writing is an art form and her appreciation of flowers is an art form, each understood and worthy.
          Our mutual understanding is the product of an effort now in its forty-fourth year. While it is unique, I agree that it is beyond appreciation.
          With intellect that human beings are capable of, a few brief words—even a facial expression—can cause instant understanding.
          I beg the TED community to read all the dialogue herein and consider for attitudes toward people and their opinion, the progressive words tolerance; respect; appreciation; understanding along with any others the next few days may discover.
          Please read the dialogue with James Kindler and help me understand how to fit “acceptance” into the progression. Accept could be misleading, but it seems I accept my wife’s opinion for her and yours for you.
          Phil
          P.S.: James, please help too.
          Phil
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    Sep 7 2011: @ Phillip- I want to respond to your comment and as it will be probably end up lengthy Im going to do it just a little later. In the meantime I just watched this short video and thought abuot our conversation, Ha- think funny way to handle a respect issue . :) http://youtu.be/b6wCj4EYBOs
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      Sep 8 2011: She's smart. I don't believe she saw the roll coming; she would have caught it, being so sharp.

      I can't believe the number of women who use the f word. I once worked with a chemical engineer who I thought would make it to the top until I heard her mimic men's profanity. She retired early.

      Looking forward to your tome.

      Phil
  • Sep 7 2011: I suggest acceptance, it's something we all seek from the time we are children until the time we pass on.
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      Sep 7 2011: I agree.
      Interestingly, Mr. Levy's arguments for "appreciation" inspired acceptance of "tolerance."
      At this juncture the conversation seems to have developed a hierachy: tolerance, respect, appreciation.
      Where does acceptance fit?
      • Sep 7 2011: We are all different in our opinions and should simply accept that fact. We don't have to agree on anything we just need to accept that others have their own opinions. Tolerance on the other hand is someting I give my cats when they wake me at night. We should not tolerate other races, we should accept them. I have a mental illness, schizophrenia to be specific, I don't want to be tolerated I want to be accepted for who I am. Society thinks we should accept other cultures and such, I say we should accept them because they are not going to change, nor am I, you or anyone else on this site. Tolerance simply does not go far enough, nor does respect or appreciation, acceptence is on a much deeper level and is more than just a thought, it's a way of being.
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          Sep 8 2011: Thank you so much, James for the additional contributions. (Your personal comment brought to mind Stephen Hawking, but my imagination probably went too far.)We love our cat and attend to her, but don't have the sleep problem. We feel she is happy outdoors.Your additional input helps. Could you be contemplating acceptance in an association within the community of humankind?Consider two words: acceptance and appreciation. And two subjects: the person and his opinion. And one association: the community of humankind. Consider comparisons.The person: I accept you versus appreciate you. It seems we require acceptance as a human like we require respect. Appreciation seems beyond.Opinion: I accept your opinion versus appreciate your opinion. It’s a little harder, with knowledge coming into play, but “accept” doesn’t seem to work.It doesn’t seem humanly possible to accept someone else’s opinion; each language is unique. Gisela pointed out: people try to converse without definitions. Anyhow, people can’t share neural networks. A person may change his opinion after considering your arguments but cannot adopt the opinion. It seems, “We are all different in our opinions and should simply accept that fact.”I discussed “appreciate” with my wife: “Would you prefer to know my opinion or brook my privacy?” She said, “I appreciate knowing your opinion, even when I do not agree, in which case I neither accept nor appreciate it.”  She appreciates the information but not the opinion. Since my opinion is no closer to reality than hers—neither of us knows, she doesn’t care to contemplate mine—prefers to listen to music or cut flowers for the house.To address both the person and his opinion, it seems to me the order of increasing preference within the association of humans is tolerance, respect, appreciation. For the person, acceptance seems equivalent to respect.Please keep expressing your views.Phil
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          Sep 8 2011: Here's a recent picture of Spunkie, unless I messed up somehow.
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    Sep 7 2011: Dear Philip, i love the heart behind your premise.
    What do we do, however, when we cannot respect the other person's opinion or when we believe that their opinion is dangerous?
    It is at this point that I believe we must find a way to press on, continue the dialogue and work to find solutions. It is at this impass that the real work starts.
    I will look forward to your comments.
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      Sep 7 2011: I don’t know, but have some ideas and will share them as I recall them. Honesty is insufficient; you must speak with integrity and bluntness. Accept that you are naturally empathetic. (See James O. Wilson’s, The Moral Sense. 1997.) Appreciate rejection as your opportunity to learn.State that opinion is needed because neither party knows the truth. Thereafter, if you perceive defensiveness, you can say, “I am not witnessing to the truth; I am speaking earned opinion.” If they don’t respond to that, it’s time to kindly change the subject to the weather or a sporting event or the latest natural disaster.Humor is great. I rebuked an offensive public figure with the statement, “If it was football instead of legislation, Gene would be penalized 15 yards for taunting.”Ruth, probably an atheist, was commenting on my draft which contained the phrase, “God--whatever that is” She said in wonderful tones, “Aarrgh! That’s too sarcastic. Strike it.” Friends of ours became too intimate when they argued about their reunion after two weeks separation for job duty. Given an unexpected question, I spoke from the heart: “We don’t “have sex”; we make love. We cannot function without mutual inclination.”See my response to Gisela McKay about “admire.” The story about my inaction toward a guy in Latrobe Park inspires me to speak out if I have reason to think a terrorist is about to attack. At festivals I think about it.A good friend from a different culture referred to his daughter-in-law as his son’s “so called” wife. I said, “Kishor,” stop using that phrase; it will get you in trouble. He said, “Thank you.”Recognize that every newborn is uninformed; not everyone psychologically matures and everyone is on a unique path. Respond according to the expected maturity. (See H.A. Oversteet. The Mature Mind. 1949.)More later if thoughts arise.
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        Sep 8 2011: Thanks Phillip. I really hope that you will have more thoughts to express on this topic. I too feel that it is important to keep dialogue vital and honest. We can always use politeness and courtesy but there are times when it is important to choose direct and honest communication over political correctness. We have only so many opportunities to speak up and be counted.
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          Sep 8 2011: Which of the ideas seemed most useful to you?
          In a recent response, I realized that in a "quality line" starting on the negative side to the left with "violence," and progressing to the right with "understanding," the zero point might be "tolerance." The entire list is: violence, abuse, tolerance, consideration, intolerance, reconciliation, respect, appreciation, and understanding. I just now moved "intolerance" to the positive side, reminded of your particular line of thought and comments by McKay and Dawson and Ghiur and Dalton and Chery. Correct me if I missed one. Also, I think intolerance is a necessary when respectfully, empathetically yet firmly applied. Consider the Latrobe Park story, ending with the offender running from the park in shame (and fear).
          What is your reaction to the sequence in the quality line, a sort of progress report in this TED conversation?
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    Sep 7 2011: Question: if we were to replace "respect" with "admire" do you sincerely admire everyone you meet?

    I am trying to figure out if it is an issue of semantics.
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      Sep 7 2011: No you don't have to admire everyone you meet.I don,t admire the smelly person on the bus infront of me but i respect there right to be there.
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        Sep 7 2011: There is a big difference between "respecting his right to be there" and "respecting him" (or her).

        Is it still a matter of respect if you get up and move to another seat?

        Not meaning to be nit-picky, I actually find this fascinating.

        A person may have a right to be there, but not to my time/oxygen supply. I reserve the right to move, whether or not it hurts their feelings.
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          Sep 7 2011: see feelings and rights dont have to go hand in hand i to would move not admiring the person. But sitting on the bus or breathing oxygen in general (life) is a right to be repected.respecting someones rights is giving them respect.
          some people would sit there respecting feelings of that person maybe having greater respect for that person or situation
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      Sep 7 2011: No; admiration or esteem requires detailed awareness. Your idea makes me think of empathy, which I do feel for everyone.
      I am reminded of my first sighting (in forty years) of New Orleans depravity—a homeless guy, practically in his sleep, taking a leak from his bench across Latrobe Park—splashing his shoes and pant legs. I got a double lesson when I called it to the attention of the next guy on my bench. He yelled, “You pervert! Get out of my park.” The decrepit guy literally ran out of the park. I sat speechless, but the guy next to me acted with intolerance—a sometimes necessary behavior.
      Gareth’s comment is published, and I agree with him.
  • Sep 7 2011: Last week I encountered a situation at my officee,an elderly man was upset over a remark saying ...' how could that young man reply me in that tone of language saying that he is so mch older than him...he said I am not young anymore.
    Thats what struck me..does age matter or what has changed..Im confused.you can help Sir.
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      Sep 7 2011: I do not know the truth, but my opinion is that age does not matter. The first party will sense inner peace in proportion to his ability to respond with tolerance or respect or appreciation or love. Equally, the receiving party will sense inner peace in proportion to his ability to return tolerance or respect or appreciation or love, regardless of the treatment he received. Only abuse or harm should be rebuked. See the dialogue with Mr. Levy for my lesson about appreciation.
      When I was a child, I was taught, “Kill them with kindness.” It seemed to me in conflict with what I thought. I searched for the source and think I found it in Romans 12:20. Even so, I prefer my way:
      Treat an offender with love.
      In so doing, you will show how you would like to be treated.
      Phil
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    Sep 6 2011: Beyond tolerance and respect, appreciation is mostly desired.

    It is not enough to live in a world where we tolerate and respect each other. True harmony and peaceful, sustainable coexistence can only happen if we appreciate each other.
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      Sep 6 2011: Your contribution has the spirit but to me offers a word in a different class—an idyllic one.
      "Appreciate" seems intrusive and evaluative. Sensitive awareness requires scrutiny. Many times, people want privacy.
      The image that humankind should seek harmony and peace, while idyllic does not seem desirable. Without unrest there seems no motive for action. There's nothing to inspire living, beyond enjoying the necessities including the arts--nothing to work for beyond perhaps Beethoven's 9th. What inspires new art?
      In history, idyllic societies have failed. It is generally accepted that humans, despite best intentions, often fail. For social practicability, governance is necessary.
      Personally: I have never accepted appreciation I did not earn. The attempt embarrasses me, even if I am the only person who is aware that I did nothing to justify the appreciation. Mere being seems neutral.
      Finally, the objective of this conversation is to persuade the TED community to adopt a substitute for something no person accepts when they sense it in operation toward them: no one wants to be tolerated. Therefore, the TED community should not suggest tolerating. (I dislike asserting a problem without offering a thoughtful solution, and therefore suggested “respect.” However, a better word is preferred.)
      Thus, on the basis of privacy, motives and incentives, viability, justification, and function, “appreciation” does not seem in the same class as “respect” and therefore does not seem to compete for the objective of replacing “tolerance” within the TED community.
      From your phrase, “beyond tolerance and respect,” I cannot discern that you agree “tolerance” should be avoided. Please state your opinion on avoiding “tolerance.”
      Finding a suitable substitute is the next step, and at this time I know of two suggestions: appreciation and respect. I could compromise, yet favor “respect.”
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        Sep 6 2011: Although we disagree, I "appreciate" your point of view, which does not mean passively accepting it, refusing to reject it or embracing it. I appreciate diversity and different point of views. I open discussions in full appreciation of other people's views, ideas and conclusions and results which I may totally disagree with and still appreciate them :-)
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          Sep 6 2011: I appreciate your use of "appreciate" and hope we both experience the TED community in the future discourage tolerating opinion or people.
          Yet, I would not condemn any who insist on tolerating, as it is better than abusing or harming.
          I open discussions to learn and am amazed with the consequences.
          Phil
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          Sep 6 2011: Wait a minute.
          "I appreciate your opinion," sent better than "I respect your opinion." Lesson learned.
          Maybe revise the proposal to: Regarding both persons and opinions, the TED community supports tolerance above abuse and harm but prefers respect in the absence of appreciation.
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          Sep 7 2011: Thank you for your response to my learning. (I have a substantial reference file accumulated in preparing a speech entitled “The Insufficiency of Tolerance,” and neither the references nor the presentation to a Freethinkers group produced the enlightenment this rather small TED conversation has produced. The keys were 1) your sharing and 2) openness to your opinion.) But look what others have added. Subsequent dialogues suggest a revised statement for your consideration, please.The pertinent references and lines:Silvester Savariappan:I do not know the truth, but my opinion is that age does not matter. The first party will sense inner peace in proportion to his ability to respond with tolerance or respect or appreciation or love (in increasing order).Jacob Miller:"Appreciation," offered by Mr. Levy, invokes progressive behaviors that exclude abuse and harm: tolerance; respect; appreciation; love.Gisela McKay’s idea to replace “respect” with “admiration” prompted “empathy,” which I think belongs. “Empathy” seems more specific than “love,” which has at least five meanings.With these references I do not wish to overlook contributions of others in this interrelated and dynamic conversation. Who knows what thought turned on a light, so we all seem involved. And I do not think the contributors are finished. For example, Jacob is still considering “grace.”The interim, proposed statement:With empathy toward both persons and opinions, the TED community supports tolerance above abuse or harm but prefers respect in the absence of appreciation.It does not seem bold to think the collaborative improvement, a product of the TED conversation, could be included in “Terms of Use.”Phil
  • Sep 6 2011: Respect is relative to age and tolerance is norm.
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      Sep 6 2011: Does your message imply that young people are to be tolerated and old people respected?
      How does a young person feel when he senses he is being tolerated?
      Does it matter how a tolerated person feels about being tolerated?
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    Sep 6 2011: Sorry I miss wrote Gisela as Debra. Maybe I am not civil enough to remember all name in long conversations. sorry again Gisela
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      Sep 6 2011: Hardly the end of the world. It's hard to keep track sometimes.

      Cheers.

      EDIT: I see what you mean. My original comment was two-fold. I am changing the punctuation for clarity.
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      Sep 6 2011: Erol and Gisela, thank you for the clarifications.
      I do think Gisela's thread is a different, yet valid, branch in the challenges of social interaction.
  • Sep 5 2011: My instinct is that 'tolerence' is a waiting game, and it implies that at some point people will understand our point of view eventually. It is vaguely patronizing when I think about it 'forgive them, they know not what they do'.

    Respect allows our opinions to differ and move forward from there. Gisela says, it must be earned - I agree, but from the flip side. It should be primary, but can be lost.
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      Sep 5 2011: To me, the tolerance statement is, "We have the correct opinion and eventually you will change to our opinion." I agree with you that it is patronizing.

      Perhaps Gisels's perspective is internal--I must earn respect by admitting that others are due my respect. Maybe she'll tell us more.
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    E G 10+

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    Sep 5 2011: The idea of tolerance is a very silly one and I say it being respectful .
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      Sep 5 2011: I agree and do not plan to offer less than respect for other people and their opinion. Of course, when the truth is known, we don't need opinion. For example, the earth is like a globe, and we need intolerance for the idea the earth is flat--except when it is an art expression.Phil
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        E G 10+

        • +1
        Sep 6 2011: And when the truth is don't know rationally I think we don't need tolerance : it destroy us .
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    Sep 5 2011: R E S P E C T, like Ms Aretha Franklin would sing ! It's all about that, and it's start with us. Do you respect yourself, do you love yourself, do you listen to yourself....START first with you and after that you'll be able to accept others opinion, be more tolerant, be more patient etc., all these come to place !!

    Cheers !!
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      Sep 5 2011: Ms Chery, thank you for the comments.
      I think you are advocating tolerating tolerance. The way I usually tolerate tolerance is to change from the controversial discussion wherein I felt disrespected to a lighter subject, such as the weather, a recent natural disaster, or a sporting event. Thus, I accept the other person’s disrespect, by not continuing the controversial dialogue.
      For example, I sometimes hear responses like, “Oh! You’re an atheist!”
      I respond, “I need to know your definition, but I do not consider myself an atheist.”
      Typically, the other person is not prepared to define “atheist” and repeats the judgment, “You are an atheist” (adding disrespect for my opinion about me).
      When a person is not open enough to explore my opinion, I drop the controversial subject, thinking that is my act of patience toward the other party and respect for their opinion, in this case, that I am an atheist, whatever they meant but did not reveal for whatever reasons.
      Now, in my original proposition, I am not asserting that the TED community should not be patient and respect unfounded opinion. What I am advocating is that the TED community choose to advocate respect, not tolerance, recognizing that tolerance is insufficient for effective dialogue.
      Let’s change to a controversial issue: some people who hold that terrorism is justifiable. In this case, tolerance of opinion is out of the question, and the only way to show respect for both the person and the opinion is to resist the opinion and attempt to prevent their move toward action on the opinion.
      Please inform me if I am still missing your encouraging words.
      Phil
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        Sep 5 2011: Thank you for responding Mr Beaver !

        An opinion is not a fact, is something that we choose to believe for ourself for the sake of our life, experience, businesses etc.

        TED communitity give a great platform to speak, exchange, learn about differences in cultures, ourself, ideas.....all that in the way that is civilized, freedom of expression and speach and have profound discussion.....so that somehow, we can make our social community a better place to live and advocate whats best for it.

        So tolerance, patience, opinion, ideas, strategies, opportunities, either if you believe in God or not, as nothing to do with it, when you are going and thriving on the same path to achieve the same objective : a better social community, base on understanding, acceptance, tolerance, respect, LOVE, education, and all the gooddies of great values....

        Anything that will use violence to achieve that goal, I WILL NOT TAKE PART OF IT, now this is a fact for me!

        If you accept that you are an atheist, and you are happy with that Mr. Beaver, so be it ! You don't have to change people mind and make them believe...this is your choice.

        On my behalf, I believe in God, and please, I do not want to exchange on that with you, just because we are on opposite sphere on that aspect, I respect your choice, and I respect my choice. But all that to say, I don't have to prove myself to no one about my beliefs : God, love, racism, joy, peace, 72 virgins when Islamic men goes to heaven....I could not care less....

        Life is a big school, I'm working hard to get my PHD !!!

        Peace !