One of the major weaknesses that people have is a failure to understand the underlying intention of a philosophy or art, and perhaps the greatest strength one can have is to sit and put oneself into the perspective of another with hopes of better understanding them and eliminating them being merely an other and to begin to see them as a participant in our human dialog that is… Whatever it is we are doing here now.
One of the things that cannot be taught is having the power to relinquish one’s egotistical allegiance to a specific ideology, or to put it even more basely, to a specific language of symbolism & preconceived valuations, and subsequently exploring the depths of another’s perspective. That is to say, each person is (potentially) entrenched not just into an ideology but also into a language that is based largely off of a series of archetypes and symbols that are severely limiting and become a burden on free thought and evaluation.
Most philosophies have a series of stumbling blocks that we have to get past before we can appreciate them as they are intended to be appreciated. And it is challenging to most people to leave their comfort zones — I think it is particularly challenging to the stupid, the cowardly and the lazy, who lack the skills to defend their own sense of goodness, who lack the courage to question their preconceived notions of the good and who are too lazy to actively seek out truth but are satiated.
I also feel that people are also simply too busy and too arrogant to take the time to acknowledge competing ideas and concepts, but if they took the time they would be greatly surprised… It is a rewarding experience to know that one has set aside certain preconceived notions and has established some understanding… In some sense, it is an intellectual triumph to simply switch off one’s limiting thought process; it is almost like thinking in an entirely new language.
I think a good mental exercise and project for people would be to spend the next few weeks thoroughly examining two ideologies and two art forms that they find disgusting or entirely unmoving.
Perhaps what many people will find helpful as they strive to expand their horizons:
Do not view things for the end product, but view them for the intention of the expression, and specifically from the perspective of the expressive agent.
You do not have to sit and say “I like Lo-Fi Black Metal music,” or “I agree with what the Taliban is doing…” Rather, the goal is to understand the underlying intention of the person and thereby view them more as a human and to have thereby reached some higher level of understanding of what it is to be a human.
Perhaps the only good thing that public education has achieved regularly in the Western world is the idea that we are all human, and at least from this conclusion we can appeal to the idea that by understanding the human condition in new ways we have inherently achieved something and cultivated ourselves somehow.
We come closer to understanding the natural impulses that we have… And we com closer to understanding the human form and potential. Too many think that diversity simply means multiple races and nationalities of people living together with some vaguely divergent taste in foods and religious practices but are all good, productive citizens of their respective liberal democracies, but this is hogwash.
Diversity, in its truest form, and in a form that would serve to be a lesson and an enlightening experience, is the appreciation of humanity from various angles. Race is an overdone and overplayed example that most of us have gone beyond… Diversity in any true and valued sense should be a challenging and harrowing experience that brings a person closer to some conclusion, and it is precisely in this sense that the “diversity” we conceive of as being part of our society is little more than a diversity of appearance and not the true & challenging diversity that asks us to step outside of our comfort zones and reexamine our own thoughts.
If it was to achieve something of real value, it would be teaching people to appreciate diverse art forms and to cultivate a worldview that is truly a worldview and not merely interpreting the world through narrow and self-serving eyes.