171: Reminders For Unity In 2020 (And Beyond)
Polarity is based on the premise of dualism, and it is precisely the line of thought that we need to break free from if we are to achieve true unity. As we move on to a new era in American history, we need to be reminded of a few simple things that we can start doing in ourselves to achieve unity amidst difference. Join Thane Marcus Ringler as he gives us eight of these gentle reminders. A quick disclaimer, you are not going to hear about giant leaps and esoteric goals. What Thane talks about here is daily, in-person, real-life work that we need to start being intentional about for the rest of 2020 and beyond.
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171: Reminders For Unity In 2020 (And Beyond)
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It’s going to be just me sharing a few thoughts and shooting from the hip. I am going to go with the flow of free thought on this one. This is something that we’re all facing. I’m recording this episode on the morning after the polls closed. Nothing has been decided at this point. It’s a close race and we’ll know with time who will be our next leader for four years. It’s been an interesting season to say the least. It’ll continue to be interesting for all of us, we all experience this differently and we all are a part of it. I want to chat about it and give some reminders that I’m preaching to myself in this time. What’s funny is for the first time in a long time, we’re going to hear a common question more than we ever heard before. It’s this question of, who did you vote for? Before 2020, this has been a FOPA issue. An issue that isn’t culturally acceptable to talk about. It’s close to home.
You don’t talk about sensitive things with other people. This is one of those sensitive things. It’s often shied away from but this 2020 more than ever before, we’re going to have conversations with people asking us, who did you vote for? I want to dive into that in a little bit. If we step back and look at this year, it has been a crazy year. If COVID hadn’t been a big enough pill to swallow, we’ve added onto our miseries by the state of affairs the election and the political landscape we find ourselves in. My wife and I, we weighed in a bit on how we are trying to navigate these times and the perspective we’re trying to carry.
The Power Of We
What we’re trying to carry is curiosity, empathy and seeking to understand or finding the good in those conversations and with those people. I wanted to share a few of my own thoughts as we continue voyaging into this climatic time of tension and division. You can see the division is clear. Here are a handful of reminders that I’ve been using for myself and that my wife and I have been using together the reminders for unity in 2020. The first is this idea that we and not us versus them. Back to this question of, who did you vote for? What this question is getting at, the heart behind this question that we can all fall into is the heart of, are you with me or are you against me?
Are you on my team or are you on their team? Which team are you on? Help me understand so that I know if you can be trusted or if you were to be an enemy that I try to defeat. This is the inherent problem with that question of asking, who did you vote for? We are trying to separate us versus them. In order to create, we need to ask better questions. One of the ways we can do that is a simple shift of, instead of saying, who did you vote for? We might say, “Why did you vote the way you did? What led to the decision you made in your vote?” We can say, “I love you as a person. My opinion or view of you is not going to change based on how you answer this question. I’m curious, I want to learn and know from you, who you voted for it and why?” That is a much different question than, “Who did you vote for?”Human issues should not be political issues. Click To Tweet
I May Be Wrong
We all know that instinctively. The goal is we, not us versus them. When we approach these conversations, may we be good at asking, “Why did you vote the way you did?” Instead of, “Who did you vote for?” One is attacking and one is uniting. The first reminder is it’s we, it’s not us versus them. Ultimately, as humans, it’s we. It’s a collective humanity. We need to pursue unity in that. The second reminder for unity that I’ve been using for myself, my wife, and those around me is, “I may be wrong.” This was first brought up by George Towers in the show that we did. I thought it was profoundly helpful and simple that we can use it in any situation or with anyone. The reality is we are all only partially seeing the truth. No one has command over Truth. Everyone is searching for it and grasping for it from their own perspective. It’s amazing when you lead a conversation with this question of asking for permission to be wrong. It opens up the door for an honest, authentic, genuine and open conversation, not a debate. The reality is there’s not a single person in this world that has it all figured out. We will likely be wrong or change our views which is a good thing. The idea that changing your views as a bad thing is ignorant because if we aren’t changing, we’re not growing.
We are all changing at all times. There’s no stagnancy in life and because of that, you’re either growing or decaying. You’re either expanding or diminishing in that sense. You’re retreating or stepping back. This idea of change is a good thing. My views on the world are different than they were a year ago, that means I’ve grown, changed and experienced different things. I hope that every year I can say that. I love Mohammad Ali’s quote on that, “The man who views the world at the age of 50, the same that he does at the age of twenty, wasted 30 years of his life.” That’s a helpful framework that, “I may be wrong. Please, give me the permission of being wrong but this is how I see it now.” With that, how can we have the humility to give ourselves and others the permission to be wrong? The second reminder for unity is I may be wrong.
Human Issues, Not Political Issues
The third reminder that we’ve been talking about quite a bit is that human issues should not be political issues. This is important. I understand that there’s going to be some controversy or disagreement with my views on this. What I mean by that is we get so open arms about our political position on these issues that are in reality is human issues. We need to remove the political nature, the politicism of them so that we can see them as human issues as they are. Things like healthcare, that’s a human issue. I get that there are political policies and approaches to how we carry that out that makes them political issues. In our conversations, I’m speaking to us as citizens and individuals that are our heart and our view should always be to keep these, first and foremost, human issues, not political issues because we’re not politicians.
Even the politicians need to remember that this is a human issue. Things like abortion, homelessness, injustice and racial inequality are human issues. These are human beings that have real lives, perspectives and challenges they’re facing. They don’t need someone to slap them on the wrist saying, “This is the right or wrong approach because of my political party or view.” They need love and care. That is something that we, as individuals can provide, not some political party. To de-politicize some of these areas, within our conversations with each other, it’s going to be helpful for promoting more unity because we can be united around caring and loving one another in these arenas. Third reminder is human issues should not be political issues.
The fourth reminder is that everything is far more complex than we make it. One president, one policy, one idea does not solve anything. It is merely a piece of the greater puzzle that we face. Everything is way more complex than we make it. I love the quote that, “For every complex problem, there’s a simple solution and it’s always wrong.” That quote speaks beautifully that for complex issues and problems, there is no simple solution that works. It just doesn’t happen and not possible. When my wife and I were filling out the ballot and we were going through it, there was a lot that we had to pause, research, read on, think through critically and still be at a place where we don’t know which route would be better.
They both have trade-offs because it’s a part of complex system, network and inner workings. When you pull this lever, this other side gets affected. For these things that we vote on, issues, agendas, amendments, there are trade-offs with every single one of them. For it to be some simplistic approach that this is the answer to all of our problems that is foolish, ignorant and naive. We have to understand that there is a complex system, a complex network of effects and there are no simple answers. That helps us again, have more humility in these conversations with people that may see something from a different perspective and say, “They are seeing a different side of this complex system than I am and vice versa.”
What Is The Goal?
If we have a conversation and not a debate, we can grow an understanding more nuance that is associated with this issue, system or cause and effect that we’re trying to address. The fourth reminder for unity is everything is far more complex than we make it. The fifth reminder for unity is, what is the goal? This is such an important question because in these conversations, we get so caught up in our perspective or our belief that we forget we may share the same goal. A lot of the times, both sides of the divide share the same goal. They just have a different idea about how to get there. They have different paths to reach or approach that goal.
The conversation can have a lot of unity when we think about, what is the goal? How can we denote the goal and clarify that we’re on the same team here that we’re pursuing the same goal? We just have different ideas about how to get there. Simply by asking, what’s the goal for you in this? What’s the goal for us in this? What’s the goal for this approach or this idea that helps us get on the same page so we can talk about the different paths to get there and critically evaluate fairly with humility? It’s a powerful question. The fifth reminder was, what is the goal?For every complex problem, there's a simple solution and it's always wrong. Click To Tweet
Being Woke Isn’t Woke
The sixth reminder for unity is more personal and a little specific in the sense that this idea of being woke isn’t woke. This is an interesting idea and it’s something that my wife and I have been talking about. You’ll hear some of this language and rhetoric, it’s used on both sides in different ways and there are different titles or opinions. I’m using this one because most people have heard this at some point. There’s this phrase of being woke and that’s thrown around a bit but it’s an unhelpful thing to use. The reason why is because again, it’s delineating an us versus them.
That’s why it’s not woke to even use the word woke. What it does is it creates this dualistic narrative. It’s right-wrong, us-them, good-bad, or enlightened-unenlightened. It sees these categories and it’s one of the most isolating or ostracizing things that we can do by referring to ourselves or others as woke or unwoke. That is one of the most unhelpful things we can do. We need to be aware of how we use language and how we use terms. Even if something were socially or culturally acceptable, I’d challenge us to say, “Is this promoting unity or is this creating a further divide? Is this loving to others or is this creating more hostility, separateness, levels of greater or lesser than within other people and my conversation with them?”
We all do this. This is just one specific example and there’s a myriad of examples where we put ourselves against others and put ourselves above or below other human beings. The reality is human beings are all equal and on the same level creationally by our core identity of who we are as humans. It’s not helpful to operate in these dualistic fashions that doesn’t create any space for differences in perspective, background, or experiences. Just because someone has grown up in a rural place in America and lived there their whole lives, that does not mean that they are woke or unwoke in this instance.
As much as someone that lives in the city and has grown up in the city, it doesn’t make them progressive lunatic or whatever you want to call it that is unattached to reality. Both sides do the same thing to each other so the reality is how can we remove these dualistic ways of thinking, try to understand and create space for the differences in our perspective that are inevitably shaped by our experiences? We are 80%-plus shaped by our experiences, and every single human’s experience in life is different. There will be different perspectives and that’s a good thing.
The seventh reminder for unity is that consumption isn’t healthy, especially over-consumption. This is clear with food. We all know that if we consume too much food, that becomes unhealthy and it can lead to a lot of health problems if we abuse that. Consumption of information is what I’m talking about. Consumption of media and information is hurting us. We aren’t as conscious of it as we need to be which is why I want to bring this reminder to myself and to each other. Consumption isn’t healthy because we are being fed our thinking instead of critically thinking for ourselves. By consuming, we diminish our ability to critically think for ourselves.
A lot of the ways that we can rework this is by simply consuming less so that we can think more. That’s a simple switch, but asking our self, “Why do I see the need to “be informed, up-to-date or in-tune” with what’s going on?” On election day, this is a question I asked myself, “If I check in with the results as the day goes on, does that change anything? No, it doesn’t. Does that help or hurt me in my day? It hurts me because it is a distraction. It removes my intention and focus on what’s at hand and the work that I need to do. It creates either anxiety, concern, fears or worries about the future that I can control anyways. Why would I do that?”
It’s nonsensical to constantly be informed, in-tune or in-touch with what’s going on in our world. We have tools, websites, social media and supercomputers in our hand that allow us to constantly be connected. That is one of the most detrimental things that we can do. To be fully alive means to be fully present and to be fully in the moment of our daily lives and the supercomputers in our hands that we all have addictions to keep us from living fully alive, in the moment and present. It also keeps us from thinking critically, which is even more troublesome. The question I ask is, “This constant drive to be informed, consume news or social media, what does that producing within me?” If we’re honest with ourselves, it isn’t producing good things.
It doesn’t produce good results within us individually and ultimately, it doesn’t help us think more critically. “How can I consume less?” It is a great question to ask ourselves because of what it is producing within us. There’s a quote from Naval Ravikant that I thought was helpful. He said, “Individuals can search for truth but groups search for consensus.” If we consume, a lot of what we consume is on a group level. What the groups are doing is searching for consensus. All you’re accomplishing there is consensus or non-consensus with those who disagree. On an individual level is where we can search for truth, not on a group level. That requires us to think critically for ourselves. The seventh reminder is consumption isn’t healthy because we are often over-consuming and not thinking critically.Consume less, so you can think more. Click To Tweet
Withhold Your Judgment
Finally, the eighth reminder. This is the one that I want you to remember and myself to remember most, withholding judgment is the key to love amongst difference. Back to what Pastor Rob said, “Unity is only possible amongst differences. There has to be differences for unity to be possible otherwise, it is simply uniformity. Uniformity is not possible. Every single human is different. What our goal should be unity, which is only possible through difference so we can love and appreciate our differences. The way that we can love our differences, give love and receive love amongst our differences is by withholding judgment. The question is, how can we see here and accept the other regardless of their choices, thoughts, or beliefs?”
That is a hard thing to do. I’ll admit it because we attach our identity to our beliefs, views or convictions. Since we attach our identity to it, we then start getting extremely defensive and fearful of losing that identity if our beliefs, convictions or views are wrong, and thus, we must defend them to the death. That is what creates an insane divide among human beings in daily life. We all experienced that and are a part of that in America. It’s clear that’s a part of our reality here. This isn’t anything new. This has been true since the beginning of time. It’s not novel but we are experiencing it more now than ever before in my lifetime. How can we withhold judgment when we talk, listen, converse or learn from others especially if there are differences in our views, beliefs and opinions? By withholding judgment, we can honestly and openly love and accept the other.
One of the best ways to do that, in my opinion, is detaching our identity from our views or beliefs. We must detach our identity from what we think about the way the world should work, what this policy, what this president, or whatever, fill in the blank is all about. We must withhold judgment so that we can love each other in the moment in our daily lives. That’s a hard thing to do but we are capable of doing that. It starts by seeing each other as humans. Those are the reminders that I am giving myself that my wife and I are talking about and that I’m trying to encourage others with in 2020 as we pursue unity. These are somewhat timeless. They apply regardless of the year or season. I’ll run back through them really quick.
The first reminder, it’s we, it’s not us versus them. The second reminder is asking for permission to be wrong, “I may be wrong about this but this is how I see it now.” The third, human issues should not be political issues. We must de-politicize these issues that are human-oriented so that we can approach them with love and care for the humans involved. The fourth reminder, everything is far more complex than we make it. Thus, there are no simple solutions or answers. The fifth reminder, what is the goal? We have a similar goal or the same goal but want to take different paths to get there. We need to clarify what the goal is.
The sixth reminder is being woke isn’t woke. What that means is operating in a dualistic fashion isn’t helpful. We need to create space for our differences in perspective. The seventh reminder is consumption isn’t healthy because we are involved in over-consumption which leads to us losing the ability to think critically for ourselves and then asking ourselves, what is that producing in me? The eighth reminder is the key to love amongst difference is withholding judgment. How can we see, hear and accept the other regardless of their views, opinions or choices?
I hope that this episode could be an encouragement and a reminder to all of us as we wade through these tense and divided times. Every individual, every single person, myself and all of you reading, we each have an individual role and responsibility to be agents of change in bringing more unity. We do that in our daily life in real life, not on social media, Facebook page or post. We do it in our daily life with the people that we interact with, rub shoulders with, have conversations with, see, work with, and can love on in real-time. That’s how we do it. It’s not sexy and these huge giant leaps forward. It’s daily person-in-person, real-life work. We all can do that. Here’s to putting in the work one day at a time and taking ownership and never settling with that. Thanks, and I hope you have an up and coming week.
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