First, Break All the Rules

Good morning, Reno!

We live in a divided world, although many automatically assume division is something with negative connotation. If you look at nature, you’ll see division everywhere. Herbivores and carnivores, plants and animals, hot and cold, male and female, reasonable people and pumpkin spice hippies – but really, division implies a separation or distinction, nothing else. One side or distinct measure split from the other.

We have been participating in a book club at work, and while First, Break All the Rules garnered a very “meh” response from me (I won’t be reviewing it), one quote did jump off the page (47, specifically).

“…the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still maintain the ability to function.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald

There is a disturbing trend these days, and that is that people are A) nearly incapable of acknowledging that someone else may have a different perspective on an issue, or even an entirely different train of thought, and have proved time and again that they are unable to place themselves on the other side of the fence. B) In general, it seems to be the people who claim they are “extremely open minded” who actually prove just the opposite – the poison that is “my way or the highway” has permeated the essence of society, and brings with it the bloat and heaviness that is a country incapable of coming together.

Back to division… the very nature of a globe with a wide swath of people is going to result in a huge variety of thoughts, ideas, and experiences, and yet somehow, somewhere, we have lost the notion that “other perspectives” are OK.

Recently Ellen DeGeneres, someone who I don’t see eye-to-eye with on very much, was seen at a Dallas Cowboys football game in the box with President George W. Bush and many other conservative attendees. As is the case with all things these days, there were tons of knee-jerk reactions on Twitter, ranging from the ignorant to the outraged (another reason why social media can be idiotic). I thought Ellen had the perfect response, again, coming from someone I don’t really agree with much…

“Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush, and in fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have… Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean I’m not going to be friends with them.

“When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t just mean the people who think the same way that you do,” she said, referring to her well-known mantra. “I mean be kind to everyone.” –Source Article

Ellen is definitely on the right track, but the Bible serves as the better go-to source of truth. Below is in the context of which commandment is most important:

“The most important one [is]… Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:29-31

That sure doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room, and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love themselves the most (myself included).

There is zero doubt in my mind that modern society is rapidly losing the ability to co-exist with the ideology that there will always be opposed opinions. Some people like Star Trek (wrong) and others choose Star Wars. Others prefer their bikes while some would rather run trails. There are those pulling for the Washington Nationals (yes!), and those who hope the Astros claim their second World Series title in three years. Bad start for Astros fans… xD. And you can even get into the serious stuff (politics, religion, definition of family) and see even more heated arguments bordering on hatred and spite.

I have friends of all backgrounds, upbringings, careers, and hobbies; however, the one trait that runs strong through them is that they all know that I won’t be exactly the same in terms of beliefs and opinions, and yet that is what we value about each otherdivision. We are all humans and still we cherish our differences. Just as each person brings a different lens to the table so too does the variety in personalities expose us to new thoughts, ideas, and perspectives.

Division naturally creates organized groups of assorted notions, and while we should be tolerant of others’ perspectives, we also need to be able to stand up and acknowledge that we will not necessarily be accepting. Yes, there is a big freaking difference.

I encourage you all to break the rules and expand your horizons. Bond with others who don’t see eye-to-eye with you. Find commonality in places where you may not expect. Treat your fellow man just as important as yourself. Some of my closest and dearest friends are people with whom I have very differing opinions about many facets of life… and yet I still consider them part of my family.

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Picture credit.

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