This fall’s political extravaganza is having a different effect on me. (No worries… I’m not talking about any particular candidate or party here if you’re just sick of hearing about this or that platform.) I’m seeing that in one way, the political barrage this year is helping me. What??
I have a friend who’s fascinated, even passionate about politics. Sometimes I ask in conversation, “So, how’s your guy doing?” This question often launches us into a discussion where quickly, inside my head, I hear myself saying… “Why did you ask that?” See… the conversation goes to places I’m not familiar with. He brings up issues I’m not really conversational about. Me, the eternal pacifist, feels dissension brewing. So I smile, and comment… “Hmm… never thought of it that way.” And because we’re friends, the conversation eventually shifts to some topic I feel more comfortable with.
But later, when I’m alone, those “uncomfortable” topics come back up. I find myself doing a bit of research about things I wouldn’t normally study. Or I ponder reasons why I’m uncomfortable or, even better, I explore more truthful replies than, “Hmm… never thought of it that way.”
Another dear friend of mine is exploring the concept of rough edges and she introduced me to the idea on a recent visit. The idea that when 2 very different places, people, or ideas come in contact, they can both be changed or they both can appear different for the encounter in ways that are beneficial and even beautiful. She’s doing research for a book on her perspectives so I won’t go there right now. But another clear example of this phenomenon is the work of Daniel Kukla, a photographer who had formal training in biological and anthropological sciences. His clever and beautiful project titled, The Edge Effect can be seen at http://www.petapixel.com/2012/09/28/photographs-of-mirrors-on-easels-that-look-like-paintings-in-the-desert/#rmuz1WOBZ92I9Uis.99
So, in my experience, I’ve realized that when I hang out with people who are like minded, who generally agree with me about a particular issue, then I see the issue as sort of solved or put up on a shelf. My opinions about it don’t get explored further. However, bring in that soul who (horrors) doesn’t necessarily agree with me, and I find myself pondering the issues again. And in doing this, I find my voice again. I may or may not change how I feel, but these ideas/issues that I might have see as “truths” get dredged up again. In the examining process, I’ve found that when I put some of my beliefs “up on the shelf”, I put a bit of my passion there too. And the “rough edge” that I encounter in discussing issues with person with another point of view, causes me to pull not only my beliefs off the shelf but my passion too. And therefore, I must admit that bit of dissension can be entirely refreshing.
And no, I don’t want to debate candidates with you. 😉
Peace and love