Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Musings: Tolerance and What it Means to You

I went back through the archives of a group I once belonged to and found a little something I wrote I thought might be interesting to explore:

What is the Purpose of Tolerance?

To allow the coexistence of other living things in a non-hostile environment in such a way as is beneficial to other living things in said environment.

In other words:

It's not merely a begrudging acquiescence (a passive hostility) of that 'others' existence, but rather an interested and sincere acceptance of the other, including their differences; a recognition of that other's well-being as vital to the growth and the harmony of the environment.

What is NOT the purpose of tolerance:

To allow non-beneficial or hostile entities to create disharmony or negatively influence an environment from a non-reciprocated level of acceptance in which the negative entity seeks to spread INtolerance of those existing in the environment.

In other words:

Tolerating genocide, hate speech and the like are not the acts of a tolerant person, but to paraphrase a quote I recently read, they are an act of cowardice.

That's how I see it in my view ;) What's yours?



Anna C. Morrison said...

I like that about tolerance not being a passive hostility because it could turn into active hostility at any given moment. True tolerance en masse, I am afraid, is still eons away.

J.R. Turner said...

Yeah, I'm with you on the "eons" away thing. I don't think we're destined to ever find that perfect world, but just because I don't believe I'll ever be a billionaire doesn't stop me from earning a paycheck :)

Thanks for the thoughts!


Mary Cunningham said...

I believe intolerance also springs from fear and ignorance.

Good, thought-provoking post


Hydra M. Star said...

Yes, that all sounds really good, but who decides what's beneficial and what's hostile?

J.R. Turner said...

Thanks Mary! And a good thought on your behalf as well :)

Hydra, I see your point :)

I would imagine those peacefully co-existing would understand the origins of the hostility. However, I recognize that not everyone recognizes that which is different can also be beneficial.

I believe that's why tolerance, as I defined it, is not something one does without thought, and sometimes that thoughtfulness is difficult.

Great reply!