Balance or Passion: Have we killed robust discourse in our search for tolerance and diversity?

Over the last 12 months , I have been on a journey of self-exploration and disclosure. Through this journey, I’ve had some difficult times and challenging moments. I also have had people I respect tell me I lost the plot. One thing in common in both instances was that I let my emotions and my passion take control of the situation.

As soon as I realised this, I decided to change. I became more tame. Less emotional. Well, at least I tried. I embraced the word ‘Balance’ with all its meaning, and tried very hard to live it every day.

One day, I came across a realisation: There is a place for extreme and emotional reactions. They can act as catalysts to important and much needed change. At the same time, I noticed a pattern in the comments section of the newspaper. I noticed a very strong trend towards embracing ‘tolerance’, ‘diversity’ and ‘acceptance of others’.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with those things; I believe they are important values that will lead to a more peaceful society. But I noticed that in many cases, the subtext of these letters to the editor was one of ‘blind acceptance’ of other people’s customs, perspectives, and impositions in our lives. In the process of being tolerant, I noticed, we are encouraging a way of life that allows intolerance from others against our own beliefs.

Worst of all, robust discussions (yes, even passionate and animated ones) are frowned upon. They are looked at as ‘aggressive’ and ‘confronting’. They are shunned upon.

Funny thing is, in trying to travel the middle of the road, we fall into the trap of following the lazy path itself. Mediocrity becomes acceptable. Debate gets frowned upon.

As many life paradoxes, the only way to solve this conundrum is by achieving a more balanced view on how often, for how long, and in which ways to apply our values of balance, tolerance, and diversity. Sounds paradoxical, doesn’t it?

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