Many have valid, current concerns, but the Intramuralist’s primary concern is not with any singular person.

Let me say more; there are significant reasons to be concerned in today’s socio-political climate, but my chief concern rests with no one person or one party. It rests with something bigger. It rests with us.

Said by American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks at Harvard Kennedy School this week, sharing a a lesson from the Dalai Lama in overcoming political polarization…

“We don’t have an anger problem in American politics. We have a contempt problem in American politics.

Contempt is defined by social psychologists as ‘the utter conviction of the worthlessness of another human being.’

If you listen to people talk to each other in political life today, they talk to each other with pure contempt. When somebody around you treats you with contempt, you never quite forget it.

So if we want to solve the problem of polarization today, we have to solve the contempt problem.

I sometimes write with the Dalai Lama. I was thinking about this contempt problem, and I said, ‘Your Holiness, what do I do when I feel contempt?’

And he said, ‘Practice warm heartedness.’

And I started thinking about it, and it’s true. When I do that, when we do that, when we have leaders who can do that, it’s utterly world-changing.

Catch yourself. You can show true strength, if next time you hear contempt, you answer with warm heartedness. Every single one of us is going to have an opportunity on social media, or in-person to answer somebody’s contempt. Are you going to do the right thing? And make the world a little bit better, and show your strength, and make your enemies your friends?

Or are you going to make the problem worse?

That’s a question each of us gets to answer, probably in the next 24 hours.”

That is sobering…

… incredibly sobering. Are we going to make this problem worse?

Truth is, right now way too many are justifying contempt. Way too many are justifying — consciously or not — to conclude that another is utterly worthless. And way too many are insulated by listening only to the likeminded. The truth also is, that most of the rest of us are weary of hearing the contempt holders scream. In fact, it’s often very hard to actually hear them.

It is totally reasonable to be concerned, but when in our concern, we justify concluding that another human being is worthless, I soberly state we are missing what is wisest.

Heed the wisdom of Arthur Brooks and the Dalai Lama.

Want to solve the polarization problem? Want to quit feeding the foolishness? Then start with self. Start with no one else. Catch yourself. Attempt to catch no one else. Quit pointing fingers. Practice warm heartedness instead of contempt.

Such is a true, contagious showing of strength.


One Reply to “contempt”

  1. I’ve always lived under the belief that it isn’t hate that divides us but indifference. It’s a tiny little thing really, but left unchecked within ourselves, it propagates and grows into contempt, distain, and hate.

    Everyone of us must answer the WHO AM I? Question for ourselves, but who that person is, also comes with a huge responsibility to the collective WE that lives around us.

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