Do you ever feel like nothing you say matters? That no matter how hard you try to reason with other people, no matter how good your intentions, no matter how much evidence you have to prove your point, you might as well be talking to a brick wall the entire time? Frustration boils through the interior, and yet the exterior stares out blankly. It’s a personal struggle that I can safely say a lot of us feel in our everyday lives, especially in these turbulent times we live in.
There is a general disconnect or polarity that exists between different groups of people and individuals. One side says one thing, another side says another, and some are undecided but may lean one way or the other, or may remain completely neutral on any given subject. Not to get into too controversial territory, but it affects people of all different tribes, whether that be race (white), nationality (USA), religion (agnostic atheist), gender (male), political beliefs (social democrat), and so forth. We all admit to being part of certain tribes (as I do in the previous parentheses). It’s something that doesn’t need to be proudly proclaimed, but is already inherent by how we were raised, along with the decisions we make for ourselves in life.
As the theory of tabula rasa (primarily attributed to John Locke) points out, the mind is a blank slate until it is shaped and formed by the given circumstances and experiences of how one was raised. People are also free to define their character through their life’s decisions and the ideas they’ve come to believe to be true. There is of course a diversity of intellectual perspectives to be found all across the world, even within a single country like the United States where people derive for themselves a unique way of looking at their surroundings. This can then spread and be shared among different groups in order to inform a collective identity, thus creating different sects that conflict with one another.
When a myriad of different groups form with opposing views that are strictly held and are never to be compromised, this creates a mode of tribal mentality that insists a black-and-white worldview. One side is good and the other is evil according to each perspective at odds. One side may “win out” in the ultimate debate but the opposing ideology will always remain, festering with a pent-up resentment underneath the surface.
I do not claim as the writer to be immune from the effects of this mindset, we are all informed by it to a certain extent. For as much as I like to claim my individuality and avoid conformity, I find myself privy and most favorable to the beliefs and values shared by certain groups of people over others. There will be those of course that may disagree with the beliefs and values that I hold personally, just as I may do the same as part of a rational debate. For all the differences that set us apart however we are united by a desire to be understood, to be listened to, and to be content with our personal journeys through life.