Empathy versus projection

Recently, I had a conversation that, given a choice of options, I’d have forgone indefinitely. To the person’s credit, this was not as awkward as it might have been, and in fairness, it was inevitable given their character.

Suffice it to say, this was cut short by the introduction of an argument the specifics of which aren’t especially material, but that I recognized right away as a cliche and shopworn word-game. Rather than address it at face value, I simply reframed the same argument from a different perspective; since this was outside of the established canon of this particular view, it was a simple thing to put an end to the thread.

There’s a lot of lip service paid to the idea of mutual respect and tolerance, but very little grasp of what they actually require. You, dear reader, will realize that like everything else I blither on about, the notion represents a complaint with the broader world at large that I’ve directed inward toward myself.

Tolerance is mandatory, and that doesn’t imply respect. It’s just about putting up with everybody, whether you like them or not, something I can generally manage even if I do go to great lengths to keep the world outside my skull at arm’s length. Respect is something else entirely, however. In point of fact, finely-tuned sensibilities notwithstanding, people frequently do hold views that will be mutually offensive to others. So, of course, how one responds to these disparities is paramount.

Thing of it is, less than 50% of the general population vote, much less do anything else of much consequence. For a significant part of the population, a census might better study their shopping habits than the opinions they claim to hold.

Yet going back to my earlier example, I know the underlying cause is not intent but merely a lack of exposure. This, itself, might be deliberate, but then merely placing fault does not remove the communication barrier. Certainly one must pick their battles, but neither does this obviate future consideration.

The ability to walk a mile in another person’s shoes is key to understanding the world.

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