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Can we talk???

Ok, I may be dating myself here but did anyone else hear Joan Rivers’ voice in their head when reading the title of this blog?








seriously though – Can we? it seems that the art of discussion is becoming lost in the world of today – and I am not really sure why. Now I am not talking about phone and face to face conversations being lost to online chats, texts and forum debates, that is a whole separate focus and one that I would be adamant about, what I am talking about is what I see as a hypersensitivity and a demand for more and more political correctness, so much so that it is difficult to share opinions and perspectives in anyway that can be construed as actually constructive.

Everyone (ok, maybe not everyone – but if you know me at all or follow my¬† blogs), knows that I am an avid online-debater. I LOVE discussion forums, they are a passion of mine. And I am sure that many think this is a huge waste of time but for me they serve a huge purpose other than entertainment (which now that I am on house arrest is very important too), they provide me the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of cultural, religious, ethnic and demographic perspectives that I wouldn’t be able to in my everyday life. Think about how often you chat on the phone or have dinner and a great conversation about politics, current events, morality or religion with someone from a different culture, religion, background etc… not too often and even if we do, it is usually the same people over and over as they make up a part of our regular social group. To me, online discussion forums have become a great asset to our society in just this way – by exposing us to new ideas and people that we would not usually seek out. For someone like me who often has great difficulty thinking in the greys (meaning seeing things pretty black and/or white), this type of exposure is essential to personal growth and development.

Suddenly though I am seeing a change in even the online community of discussion forums. So many people are overly-sensitive, they demand political correctness and non-offensive commentary from contributors – which I usually have no problem with except that these demands have gone too far. By demanding and restricting comments, by trying so hard not to offend anyone, anywhere in anyway – can we really have open and honest communication? Can we really share our thoughts and feelings? Our experiences and beliefs? Or is this type of PC Censorship actually preventing us from becoming more sensitive to the issues by not allowing us to share and to learn from each other? I have often been heard to say (or read to type) that if you do not want honest opinions and comments then you should simply stay off the Internet and I truly mean that. I also mean that in my face-to-face discussions as well. If you don’t want to hear my opinion or feel that you need to censor me in what I say – don’t ask, because if we are discussing an issue, I will always be open and frank – how else can we learn? If I have to weigh every thought and word before I say it against the sensitivity of the person before me will they ever truly be able to understand how I feel or what I think? Will I ever really get to know them? I think not.

people are people, issues are issues. I have some amazing friends that I can discuss things with and completely disagree with. I have friends and acquaintances online and in person in which I regularly have quite in-depth discussions about politics, religion etc and we are so far apart on the spectrum that we can’t even see the middle and yet we get along famously. Issues are issues. I can debate heatedly with you on the legality of abortion, on the death penalty, on the need for transgendered washrooms without attributing your views on those topics to who you are as a person. I actually want to know what and why you think/feel the way you do and even though you may never convince me to agree, you will always get my respect for being able to explain your position. Unfortunately too many people can’t seem to do that. They can’t seem to separate the person from the issue. They get so emotionally attached to their perspective that any other view or opinion is taken as an insult or personal attack. I wish someone could explain it to me. I just don’t get it.

If you tell me, ‘I believe that A=B’ and I ask, ‘Why do you believe that? What is B=C instead?’ – how is that an insult? Are our opinions on topics so intergrained with who we are that they cannot stand up to scrutiny? Have we become so sensitive and insecure as individuals that we have reached a point where we can’t even question anything anymore, where we cannot stand to be questioned? I have raised my children to question everything. ‘Because I said so’ is never a good enough reason in my home. I want them to be free-thinking individuals capable of research and developing their own thoughts and opinions, whether they agree with me or not. How can they do that is they are not allowed to ask questions, if when they do people get defensive and shut down communication? What will our society become if we are so busy tiptoeing around each other that we never get close enough to actually know one another?

I know for myself, I will never be the best person that I can be if I am no longer allowed to learn from everyone else. I don’t want to be that sheltered, but I have to wonder – does everyone else?


This entry was posted on Friday, October 21st, 2011 at 5:01 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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