And to make sure that we don’t get too uncomfortable with the people in the world outside of our boxes, we love to make loud declarations about how perfect and right our boxes are. We constantly explain why other things don’t fit into our boxes. We declare that God himself defined out boxes. We always have good reasons for what’s in our own boxes. And in our rationalizations of how small our boxes really are, we become more bigoted and more intolerant toward others.
And we all do it. In our own ways, and with our own things, we all do it. You do it. Jim Bob over there does it. I do it.
For example. I recently read an article about some creeper with HIV, who knew he had HIV, and still had sex with more than 200 different women without disclosing that “little detail.” I’d like to think that I’m definitely better than that schmuck-ball. And you probably think so, too.
But bigotry can be so much simpler. For example, I somehow think that I’m better than people who can’t seem to spell you’re and your right. Or to, two, and too. This is second grade stuff, people. Learn it already!
See? I have bigoted parts of me. And so do you. Big and small.
But we don’t have to. Or at least we don’t have to nearly as much as we do.
We can get rid of most bigotry in our own lives by simply learning how to shut our mouths about how perfect and amazing our own morality boxes are, and learn to step outside of them once in a while in the name of becoming more tolerant.
We can step out of the black. We can step out of the white. And we can step into the gray.
I challenge you all to do that once in a while, and see if what you believe is moral or not changes when you do.
I’m not saying go out and sell your body for money. Or do. I don’t care.
I am saying try-out and try-on a few things that you have been told are immoral, and see how you really feel about them after you do. Only then can you know if your concept of morality is truly yours or not.
Have you been taught that drinking is abhorrent and wrong your whole life like I was? Drink a glass of wine and ask yourself if you feel like a “bad person” when you’re done.
Have you been taught that all religion is stupid and wrong? Try going to some church that sounds cool to you and see what you think at the end.
Have you been taught that gays are sinners? Try making some gay friends and see if you still think so once you really get to know them. Good luck holding onto that one.
Do you somehow believe that your skin color makes you better than someone else in this country? Go out and spend time in a place where you’re the only one of your kind, and see if you still feel that way when you come home.
And of course do the smaller things, too.
Have you always believed that people who buy name-brand cans of food are suckers? Try buying a can of it and see if you still think so.
Do you think living a vegetarian life is ridiculous? Try giving up meat for a week and see what you think then.
Study your bigotries. Question your bigotries. And challenge your bigotries.
I think if we all started living this way, we would actually slowly wipe out most bigotry and intolerance from the world.
Does it scare you to think about trying that, though? Does the thought of venturing outside of your morality box make you… uncomfortable?
If it does, ask yourself why. And then ask yourself this.
Wouldn’t you rather know that what you think is right or wrong, and that what you have neatly packed inside of your box, was all put there by you after having intimate knowledge of the reasons you put those morals in there in the first place?
I know that has been the case for me as I’ve tried to live a lot more this way. And I know that the more I venture outside of what I believe to be right and moral, the more I learn how off the mark I sometimes (and often) am.
And the more I learn that, the more authentic I become.
And the more authentic I become, the more accepting of others and others’ ways of thinking I become.
And the more accepting I become, the more HAPPY I become.
And the more happy I become, the less need I have to somehow feel like I am somehow better than others.
And wouldn’t you agree that someone who can achieve that is a much more awesome person than someone who encourages intolerance and bigotry by keeping their morality box shut tighter than a kid looking at a spoonful of medicine?
I sure would. But that’s just me. Maybe you think intolerance and bigotry are good attributes. Whatever. We all have our own boats to float. I don’t want to be intolerant of the intolerant. Then I’d just be a hypocrite.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
And thanks (as always) for commenting and sharing! This is one discussion I’d sure love your thoughts on.