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Mindfulness: the key to political discussions | The Triangle

Mindfulness: the key to political discussions

Photograph courtesy of MaxPixel

There has been a severe gap between the two main political parties that has been allowed to fester. This conflict has grown to the point where people cannot come together to debate the issues of our time in a respectful manner.

Any issue under the shroud of the social justice warrior movement of the last decade has become taboo to talk about. These matters include gun control, hate speech, minority representation, gender dynamics and much more. Everyone has their own opinions buried deep within their psyches, and these are rarely vetted. Because of this, when opinions are expressed, conflict is often created.

William Shakespeare once said, “There is nothing either bad or good but thinking makes it so.”

He dictates that there is nothing inherently bad about having opposing opinions, but the problem lies in the morality. When morals are imposed, people have a tendency to be unable to have civilized discussions. They are even more so against having their minds changed. This creates an environment in which opinions, on either side, go unopposed.

I believe this is the primary reason that people are unable to discuss politically and socially charged issues today. All too often when an opposing view is offered, people are not only taken aback or offended, but also tend to look at said person differently.

This classification of people into certain categories solely on the basis of a varying opinion is unacceptable. For example, when someone doubts the implications of women earning less than 0.72 cents on the dollar compared to men, that person is more often than not labeled as a bigot and sexist. This type of labeling does not bode well for open debate.

When a person is subjugated to a group, akin to being labeled racist and sexist, the people doing the subjugating are making that person less than human and are also degrading their opposition’s opinion.

This makes the sexist in the example above morally lesser than whoever makes the claim, and for all intents and purposes, strips the proclaimed sexist of the ability t o make an argument, even if the person in question is not, in fact, a sexist. It is very easy to do this, and is carried out quite often.

The only conceivable solution to such an epidemic is to cultivate mindfulness in the masses. Mindfulness is a way of life, taught widely in the Eastern world through meditation and spiritual pilgrimages. Now meditation has a negative stigma in the Western world, but let’s just focus on what mindfulness does, and why we need it.

The act of being mindful is to monitor one’s thoughts in a way to assure one is thinking about what one wants to be thinking about. It is a way to assess your own ideas and make sure that what you are thinking about is true to you. This act also allows you to understand other people’s perspectives, since you are not dependent on your own opinions, and be receptive to their ideas, culture, opinions and ways of life.

Promoting mindfulness would allow us to debate without subjugating, without dubious arguments and most importantly, without offense.

Start questioning your opinions and realize that maybe someone has a different way of thinking; and to push the realm even further, maybe you are wrong in your assumptions and opinions.