Twice now in the past month I have embarked upon the most perilous conversation topics. Upon becoming a young adult I was given a brief overview of what not to do in most situations. Now it doesn't take more than my high school religion teacher's podium to tell me to question authority. Whatever you do in life, never ever ever bring up the topic of what? Politics and religion.
The truth of the matter is that those two areas of interest are the best way to really find out what other people value. Now most people don't know how to use tact. Our values are a lot like a banana. They bruise easy since there is minimal protection, and as different as they are from the next one they are still relative. We fear that if our values are found to be weak that no one will appreciate us at all. Tragically, this common courtesy of not pushing people's buttons is really an insult to the bond we all say exists.
Think about it. How else can you really learn about where someone is coming from than talking about their religion or political ideals? Only in a car accident do we give a concentrated dossage of personal burden. That is the only time we stop and listen to what is going on in someone else's life- because we are forced to. In a society that prides itself on technological growth/change we carry the most socially primitive mindset. Change is good, so long as it is not I who does the changing because I have no reason to do that.
This may stem from inferiority complexes most have about being portrayed as unintelligent. I have never met anyone that knows everything. That is the beauty. Why can't we sit down and talk about what we know and share it? Are we that territorial that even knowledge or the idea of knowledge can't be a communal concept?
I am not afraid to say talk about who and what I support. I will vote for Kerry. I have many reasons, the top being environmental. Bush is trying to sell our Alaskan Timber Reserve to the lumber industry and then he can dig for oil in the reserve there. Agree or not that is important to me. This idea that we need to hide what is important is insane. It is like the time you sat across from the person you were just crumbling internally to kiss. Your hearbeat was everpresent, it made your whole chest pound. Life does not have to be a game of poker, hiding until someone breaks. Sometimes it is still fun to play Go Fish. That is the passion we all have, to live and learn.
Passion is fantastic but some of us don't release it as much as we should. We have to maintain the prefessionalism, integrity, or what have you that was predetermined by generations past. Much like the dog that has been kept in the cage all day, when we finally let it out it goes wild. People raise their voice out of excitement and then the only way a counter point is made is by shouting instead of waiting until the full view is made clear.
Talking about religion and politics is not dangerous. It is exciting, wonderful, and captivating. Both areas cover so many cultures that are far from your subdivision. There is an exercise I do (and so should you) where I am in a conversation with another person. For a few minutes every sentence we say must start with "no." Then see how the conversation goes. Then we go ahead and start each sentence with "yes, but." Then see how the conversations flows. Finally, we start with "yes, and." Just see how we put up a wall when we talk to people. Of course it is hard to see things anyother way than our own, not every day provides a retrospective moment.
I encourage and hope that we can challenge eachother to open up and learn about the people you work with, eat dinner with, and call to say good night. There is a Chinese proverb I heard the says- The heart can't hear but it listens.