I was thinking about peace on earth and why we don’t have it. I guess there are lots of reasons. The one I focused on was the difference between opinion and fact.
I was talking to a guy the other day who had a lot of emotion around a colleague disagreeing with him. Recently, I read a few blog posts where I sense this same issue was in play. So something in the air? Anyway – opinion or fact?
I have lots of opinions. Just read the posts on this blog – mostly my opinions. I, like most people, base my opinions on reading what others have to say, my own experience and the mammoth intangible of my own intuition or creativity that puts all the pieces together and comes up with my unique way of seeing a particular issue.
You read one of my post and agree with me. We are both sort of coming from the same place on that particular issue. Great. Or, you read my post and you disagree with me. You may silently disagree with me or you may write a comment putting forth your way of seeing. Great.
Here’s what’s important to remember. My post – my opinion is all about me. It is neither right nor wrong in any absolute sense. Your opinion of my post is all about you. It, too, is neither right nor wrong.
You see? We humans are each unique with unique, creative opinions – gifts to the world. Fighting over our opinions is pointless. That’s where the peace on earth part comes in! Learning to accept each other’s differences sounds so easy – almost boring. Actually, it’s very difficult. In order for me to accept you as you are, I have to be standing on very solid ground. My work is not to convince you I’m right. My work is to convince me I’m ok – worthy – good enough – a beautiful, fantastic, magical, creative being with gifts to give.
Yes, but what about facts? You know when you get right down to it, there really aren’t too many facts. It’s wild.
I really enjoyed Rupert Sheldrake’s book, Science Set Free. I summarized the book here. One chapter is entitled, Are the Laws of Nature Fixed? Turns out not all of them are. Objectivity vs. Subjectivity. You could argue that all – most – of objective reality has its basis in subjectivity. I know for the scientists out there – this is a ridiculous statement. In my world it isn’t ridiculous.
One of my favorite subjects – religion. Almost no facts – lots of opinions. The classic example is the Christian religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. And, yet, there is absolutely no factual evidence Jesus Christ ever lived. All we have are a bunch of stories written by men who undoubtedly colored the stories with their opinions.
Politics/Economics. All theory, all opinion. No facts at all. Here are some overly simplified definitions:
Socialism – a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
Democracy – a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
Capitalism – an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
Conservatism – Conservatism as a political and social philosophy promotes retaining traditional social institutions.
Liberalism – Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality.
The problem with all these opinions and theories is we humans have killed each other for thousands of years over opinions. I’m not advocating any one is right or wrong. I’m simply pointing out its all opinion.
And, rather than killing each other there is another way. Peace on earth begins with me – inside. And, you.
So, the next time someone doesn’t agree with you – stop and consider. Is this simply your opinion or is it fact. If you think it’s fact, are you absolutely sure? Next, why is it so important to you that the other agree with you? Why do you want or need their approval? Can you let it go? Can you be ok if they are never ok with your view?
You see? Peace on earth is not some sort of abstract state we should all fight for. It’s who we each are inside.