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September 14th, 2015

Tangled Up In Truths

The other day I posted a Bob Dylan quote "We all believe the same things, but just see them for a different point of view" on Facebook. A ton of people didn't get that I was quoting a song and a bunch of people thought the sentence was total bullshit. But, it's not. It's one of the truest lines in rock.

The truth is that, discouting some outliers, most people simply want to have a decent job, some money in the bank, a roof over their heads and to feel loved.

We often get so polarized in our discourse that we forget this. Life becomes an Us V. Them thing where we imagine that their wants, desires and values are completely different from our own. We forget that they are human.

What causes people to have views that seem crazy to us is because they have a different perspective. Everyone grows up seeing their experience of the world as  normal. And their experiences shape how they think about the world and how they assume other people should think about the world.

If you grow up being told that some particular version of Jesus worship is the way to get a decent life, and the people around you who seem to have a decent life follow that type fo Jesus worship then you can't imagine why everyone isn't worshipping that version of Jesus. You don't have the same perspective as those "others."

Same if you grow up with atheist scientist parents and you see that them and their "logical" friends seem happy and successful. So you can't imagine why people are worshiping Jesus and ignoring evolution and other science that has helped make the people around you successful.

It's not that either person is bad or evil. But their life experiences have shaped them. And it's impossible to have lived another person's life so it's impossible to easily put yourself in their place. But it's worth it to try.

For example, I think that a $15 minimum wage would be a good thing. But then I think about someone at an office who worked for 10 years in order to get enough raises to make $15 an hour. Can I imagine how frustrating and unfair it might seem to them that someone who walks in the door at the bottom of the  pile will now make as much as they do? Yes, I can.

I think women have the right to choose. But I can also understand how if someone grew up being told that life begins at conception, every single person they know believes that life begins at conception and the authority figures who have helped them out in life believe life begins at conception would become pro-life. It's not that different than people like me who grew up with everyone around me believing in evolution. That's the world I know and my reactions in life are based on that. How is that any different than the way someone who grows up in a rural religious community reacts to things.

So, yeah, I reall do think we all believe the same things but just see them from a different point of view.

And, I think that idea is important to remember.

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