Welcome to SPN

Register and Join the most happening forum of Sikh community & intellectuals from around the world.

Sign Up Now!

General Let's Agree to Disagree?

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Charan, Feb 5, 2011.

Tags:
  1. Charan

    Charan
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    105
    Sometimes we meet people who have views and opinions that do not fit with our way of thinking. We argue with them and we try to convince them. However, it often ends with things like let’s agree to disagree. But is this always beneficial? Should we just give up on people who have an immoral way of thinking? Is it not, in a way, our job to not let them go astray? I understand that what is moral to me, might not necessarily be moral to another person. However, certain things and ideas are universal. I have met people who support the horrifying actions of Hitler and Stalin. Their arguments are so bad that I don’t know if they can even hear themselves. Despite my numerous attempts at trying to explain why the actions of these lunatics (i.e. Hitler and Stalin) were immoral, they have stuck to their beliefs. It makes me think... If in the future, one of these people, (God forbid), becomes the next Hitler or Stalin, is it not, in a way, my responsibility too? Are we not all contributing to the shaping of the people around us?
    Have you ever met someone who has views that are the complete opposite of your own views? How did you deal with it?
     
    • Like Like x 3
    #1 Charan, Feb 5, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
  2. Loading...

    Similar Threads Forum Date
    Learn Punjabi Let's learn Punjabi! ਆਓ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਸਿੱਖੀਏ! آؤ پنجابی سکھیئے Language, Arts & Culture Oct 21, 2013
    General Let's play 'spot the contradiction' Hard Talk Jan 3, 2013
    Opinion Let's ask how we contribute to rape! Breaking News Dec 31, 2012
    Controversial None said ‘There are risks, so let's stop it!' Hard Talk Jan 13, 2011
    Hey, That's Sacred Ground: Let's Talk About Where to Build that Mosque Interfaith Dialogues May 30, 2010

  3. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
    Expand Collapse
    ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
    Writer SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    3,366
    Likes Received:
    5,657
    Charan ji thanks for your post.

    I have like almost all come across such situations. For me these fall into two elements and a combination of these two as follows,


    • Heart of Stone
    • Closed Mind
    I have the following comments on each with the first "Heart of Stone",
    • Heart of Stone
      • These will,
        • Kick a person when he is down
        • Will not share their plenty
        • Will mistreat based on groups
          • Low caste
          • Different color
          • Different appearance
        • Will have little to no compassion
      • These are compared to Kasais (Butchers) .... I am not commenting on the profession per se
    • Possible Causes
      • This result is based on parenting, religion and group acceptance, selfishness
    • Possible Approach
      • Such people may learn from example so don't change yourself and do good
      • You cannot debate as this is the Heart and somehow these people if they ever going to change, they will change through fate or school of hard knocks
    The second , "Closed Mind",

    • Closed Mind
      • These will be,
        • Insecure people
        • Concerned about their weaknesses
        • Defensive
        • Attention gatherers through controversial stances
        • Debaters

    • Possible Causes
      • Upbringing conditioned
      • Possibly genetic
      • This approach has developed through their comfort or success with the same
    • Possible Approach
      • Ignore
        • This is the best insult for a barking dog or closed mind
      • Make your point
      • Don't force win-lose
      • Try to reason for win-win
        • There are very few issues in life truly black and white
      • Don't insist on capitulation
        • Most people can be on your side but are not willing to say so
    Let us see if we agree to the discussion in the following about man-woman,
    Sat Sri Akal.

    PS: Don't try to boil the ocean as they saywinkingmunda
     
    • Like Like x 5
  4. Charan

    Charan
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    105
    Thank you Ambarsaria ji for sharing your analysis and viewpoints. I agree that factors like parenting, selfishness and religion can shape a person to think the way he/she does. And I understand that selfishness and one’s upbringing can lead to such thinking. However, what I do not understand is how religion, something that belongs to God, who loves each individual equally and expects the same from His children, can develop such ways of thinking. ”People fight for religion, people die for religion, but people don't follow religion...” (Author unknown)

    You also list genetics as a cause. Could you please elaborate a bit on that? How does genetics have something to do with a person being... “evil”? I am curious.

    In regards to your suggestions of possible approaches, I like that you bring up that one should not change oneself in the process of changing others. As findingmyway ji’s signature states “The world will not change unless the change starts at home”

    I also understand that they will discover the true words of Waheguru, when He wishes so for them. But I still feel I have some sort of responsibility of at least trying to change other people for the better. Am I wrong in thinking so? You see, ignoring these people is the last thing I want to do. That for me seems like an indirect way of saying “I don’t care if you have nothing against Hitler killing so many people”.

    There are indeed a very few issues in life that are truly black and white, and I can deal with most people having opinions that are not identical to mine. We are individual beings and we have our own ways of approaching different matters. However, sometimes we come across people who... for example adore Hitler. It is views like that I can’t grasp.

    Sorry, can’t say much about the last video there, since I didn’t understand all of it. But I understood that the woman was degrading the man and vice versa. That to me was just a childish debate and nothing to do with morality... what do you think? Sorry if I misunderstood. As I said, I didn’t understand much of it.

    Sat sri akal ji and thank you once again for contributing.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    #3 Charan, Feb 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2011
  5. Archived_member14

    Archived_member14
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    388
    Charan ji,


    Sometimes I too do not like the prospect of having to agree to disagree. However, on hindsight it would appear that this must be due to attachment on my part. Besides there are times in which it seems that this is the best option to take, since continuing any discussion is likely unproductive, or worse, that it would cause both parties to be engaged increasingly, in unwholesome activities of mind.

    Our problem is that we forget to take into consideration the quality of mind and instead become very involved in our own projections with regard to both that person out there, as well as the subject matter holding our attention. And would not this be due exactly to attachment having taken control throughout?
    You might want to consider the following:

    Our interaction with other people is almost always with either attachment or aversion at the root. Even towards those who are close, this in fact is not with kindness, friendliness or goodwill but rather selfish affection. But we don’t realize this, perhaps because on the other end, there are people towards whom we feel ill-will which then deceives us into thinking that we do have the wellbeing of the former group in mind. In truth however, it is all about me and my feelings. This is why it is said that while the far enemy of kindness and goodwill is ill-will, the near enemy is attachment. And this is very hard to see.

    Likewise when it comes to compassion. What we know and invariably go by is due to the influence of craving and ignorance. Not knowing what compassion is in actual experience; we instead feel pity towards other people but mistake it be the other. Pity is here, the near enemy and is in fact an expression of aversion. Aversion must be accompanied by unpleasant feelings and this is what moves us in such kind of situations. We ‘do not like a particular situation and wish to change it’, it is clear that this is aversion and attachment at play, but ignorance makes us believe instead, that we have compassion. But the truth is that compassion must be accompanied by either neutral or pleasant feelings and why so? Because with compassion is an element of kindness and the object in this case is the wellbeing of other people. And you can’t have the good of the other person in mind, while at the same time, moving away from the situation.

    Again here, what sometimes deceives us is the feeling of cruelty that we otherwise feel in a different situation. This is the far enemy of compassion, which can cause us to believe that any pity arisen must be the real thing, when in fact it is the near enemy of it. And this is worse, since we then take what is all about me and my feelings as being a concern about other people.

    And then there is what comes under the name of ‘understanding’. Sometimes in thinking about other people in particular situations, when considering whether or not we can help him and deciding finally that it is better to leave it be, this may in fact be due to cold indifference but taken to be equanimity. The cold indifference is in reality an expression of ignorance which is accompanied by neutral feeling. Equanimity is also accompanied by neutral feelings; however this comes with an understanding about cause and effect which is karma. So if one’s evaluation of the situation is not in fact in line with this truth, then this must be due to other considerations, ones driven by ignorance but giving the impression of understanding.

    In conclusion, that we think about other people and the situations in which they are in is normal. What we lack in the understanding of what is at the root of such thinking. To perceive that other people have wrong attitudes of mind is one thing, and kindness, compassion and equanimity should be encouraged here. Our problem however, is that we are motivated by attachment, aversion, ignorance and worse, wrong understanding. This latter is what is behind thoughts about being ‘responsible’ for other peoples’ actions and is a rather dangerous position to take.

    Goodwill acts rightly as much as the situation allows, so does compassion. When the situation is such that nothing can be done and in considering about karma, something over which no one has any control, this can cause one to detach from the situation and pay attention to whatever it is that is at hand. To go on and proliferate about what is necessarily past and gone, and to project a future situation in which certain things will happen, is just more pasture upon which ‘self’ feeds. Understanding all this, would you still insist on changing other people? Is one of the problems not that we all want to change the world, and this includes Hitler and Stalin?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Charan

    Charan
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    105
    Thank you Confused ji for shedding light on the topic. I hadn’t thought of it like that before. Your way of explaining the whole issue really gave me an “aha” moment...If our feelings are accompanied by anger, we are selfish. If they are on the other hand accompanied by neutrality or pleasant feelings, it is real kindness. So sometimes we think we really care? But deep down it can be mere selfishness? I completely understand this. However, to answer your last question: Yes, I still believe I have the responsibility of at least trying to change people who have completely absurd ideas. As said before, I understand and accept that people are different from me. However, some ideas and thoughts concerning morality are universal. Changing the world with good intentions is one thing, changing it like Hitler and Stalin is another. I can’t change anyone; all I can do is try. Thanks to you, I know now that in the future, I will do my best to make sure that my feelings are rather neutral than accompanied by anger. Only then I can know that what I am doing is out of genuine kindness rather than selfishness. If I come across an issue that I can do absolutely nothing about, I will of course try to leave the issue being equanimous, rather than indifferent. Thank you for enlightening me.
     
  7. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
    Expand Collapse
    ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
    Writer SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    3,366
    Likes Received:
    5,657
    Charan ji in conjunction with Confused ji's post I believe I have noted consistently the following highlighted word,
    Yes, I still believe I have the responsibility of at least trying to change people who have completely absurd ideas.

    Just some anecdotal comment,
    "My father was a Principal at Khalsa High school(s) in Amritsar.


    • Khalsa College Senior Secondary School, Amritsar
    • Sri Guru Ram Das Khalsa High School, Amritsar
    • Khalsa school in Sarhali, Sarhali, Amritsar

    He saw many (perhaps thousands) kids through various stages in their growth. He used to tell us that people are pretty much set in their ways by age 12."

    What this means is that changes of any large nature (e.g. their ways of thinking or deep held beliefs) are virtually impossible to achieve. Lately scientist have lowered this age to 4 years.

    So there is a partial answer to your quest to change people. There is also a partial angle in trying to change people which is "they are wrong and I am right and why can't they see this". Given the above I believe one has to provide a civil discourse and not push. If the change or argument is going to sink in it will naturally do so.

    What one has to recognize also is that every person is a whole entity. What one may want to change in one example or one aspect may have other internal/external consequences for them that we may never fully understand but must recognize.
    Hope the above makes some sense.

    Brother Confused ji for sure has helped you in this per your "Aha moment", which is great:).

    Regards.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    #6 Ambarsaria, Feb 5, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  8. Charan

    Charan
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    105
    No, Ambarsaria ji, I think you have misread/misunderstood what I am saying. I am not saying that I will change people with different views than mine. I am just saying that I will try to change those views that do not fit with universal morality.

    I understand that this is hard, and therefore I will only try, not push.

    Am I wrong in thinking so?
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. manj kr

    manj kr
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    11
    Dear Charanji,

    I agree with what you are saying. Sikhi is not just about doing things for the self, but also to try and inspire and help others to go down the right path. Unfotunately, though not everyone will listen as either they are just stubborn, or they will listen when they are in the right frame of mind. We can only try to help others, but at the end of the day they need to have it in them to help themselves and to do good things, etc. Its just like an alcoholic, people, literature is can guide the person and try and help them deal with the addiction. But at the end of the day, that person needs to change their thougfhts, mindset and thinking to change their lives.
    There is a non-sikh person at work who always argues with me about my facebook comments (as they are mainly to do with sikhi) and he says its all mumbo jumbo. I try to explain to him but he just doesnt want to hear it and even when I ask about Christianity, he is not interested and then I ask him why does he celebrate Xmas if he doesnt believ in Jesus and the meaning of it. I think alot of it is to do with pride and he doesnt want to feel embrassed in frotn of other workers that he may believe in god. I think alot of people want to just fit in the crowd as thats the easiest route to take.
    These are just my thoughts and experiences.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Charan

    Charan
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    105
    Thank you manj kr ji ::cool: Yes, all we can do is try. Everyone has the potential to change and we don’t lose anything in trying to bring out that potential and make it blossom. I remember Michael Jordan once saying, I can accept failure, everyone fails at times. But I can’t accept not trying. And as Confused ji brilliantly explains; When trying, we just need to make sure that our feelings and thoughts are accompanied by neutrality and/or pleasantness in stead of anger and selfishness.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
    Expand Collapse
    ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
    Writer SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    3,366
    Likes Received:
    5,657
    Charan ji please explain a little about the specifics


    • I will try to change those views that do not fit with universal morality.
      • Please explain specifics,
        • Is it person's behavior with you and others
        • Is it person's eating habits, sleeping habits, etc.
        • Is it person's personal beliefs
        • Is it person's treatment of other religion's
        • Is it person's treatment of elders or other family members
        • Is the person,
          • Related to you
          • Lives with you
          • Works with you
    • We all know how sometimes, it matters little what you are trying to do, but matter a lot how you try to do?
      • **************************
    Please let me know if any thing I write is unhelpful or offensive, I will delete it.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
    #10 Ambarsaria, Feb 6, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  12. Charan

    Charan
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    105
    Ambarsaria ji, first of all; I am extremely sorry if I come across as nagging. I don’t know what have given you this impression of me. I am young and maybe the questions I ask or the things I say are stupid. Or maybe it is because English is my third language and therefore what I intend to say may not always come forward in my words. I don’t know.
    In this topic, I am not referring to any specific person in my life. I am just talking about people in general. People who have thoughts and ideas that do not fit with universal morality. I just wanted to know how one should deal with these people. But it makes me very sad that you have misunderstood me greatly. I don’t want to be accepted for what I am doing. I just want to know if what I am doing is right or wrong. What I have come to understand is that what I was doing was in fact wrong. I was being selfish when trying to change other people for the better; because my feelings were accompanied by anger.

    Once again, sorry for being nagging ::cool::
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Navdeep88

    Navdeep88 Canada
    Expand Collapse
    Writer SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    432
    Likes Received:
    651
    Charan Ji,

    At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own lives. My actions, words, thoughts are observed by God and according to them, things come into my life that are in accordance with the flow of them.

    You cannot help someone who does not want it, all you can do is voice your opinion and if they disagree in words, thoughts, actions, thats between them and God. Who am I to take responsibility for them? You cannot cajole someone into agreement, if they side with something horrifying, Im pretty sure they suffer as long as they choose to beat that drum of negativity. Plus God takes care of everyone, including those we may disagree with and dislike. They're his too, he will guide them just like we are being guided.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
    Expand Collapse
    ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
    Writer SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    3,366
    Likes Received:
    5,657
    Charan ji please accept apologies if any way I hurt your feeling. It is also conversely true that generally if only you care you will hurt while ignoring is the easy way out.


    • People who have thoughts and ideas that do not fit with universal morality.
    In discussions sometimes it gets very difficult to talk in general terms. Specially Universal Morality is such a slippery slope that it is so easy to feel righteous and see others as less righteous.

    One of the explanations of Universal Morality (Kant) is the following description in a search I did and I quote,


    • Never treat a human being in such a way that you fail to respect the intrinsic human dignity of this human being/ Can we be more precise - how do we avoid disrespect the human dignity which all rational agents - human beings - have? Here is how: Never treat anyone as a mere means to an end - this would mean disrespecting them; never treat anyone as a mere tool to bring about goals or objectives she or he has not and could not possible accept or consent to; always treat a human being as an end-in-him/herself - treat a rational human being as if he or she were able to form his/her own projects and plans and goals in life.
    http://www.angelfire.com/space/omakridis/kant2.html
    Perhaps if your interpretation is in line with the above about Universal Morality it could be of some help.

    Summary,

    • Treat a person as rational
      • If not you cannot communicate based on the concept of Universal Morality
    • Respect their dignity
      • They are not all wrong
      • You are not all right
    • Respect if a person does not buys-in into your thoughts or ideas
    • Treat a person that in final analysis they are responsible for the plans and goals of their life
    Please post if this is more in line with your expectations from your thread here.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Archived_member14

    Archived_member14
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    388
    Charan ji,



    I am glad that you got something positive out of my message.

    I appreciate the good intentions to point out to other people their wrong attitudes. But it is one thing to have such intentions when faced with a situation in which advice / help is called for. It is however different when we make it our mission to do such a thing. The intention in this case is towards an ideal, and idealism is expression of ignorance and craving. And I am not saying that you come across as idealistic, but we all have the tendency to some extent.

    From my last message you had come to the conclusion that if the state of mind is with unpleasant feelings, this being sign of aversion should cause you to hesitate from acting upon your thoughts. But if the feeling was either neutral or pleasant, then you should go ahead. I wonder if you took into account the fact that these same feelings define attachment as well, and while aversion is the ‘far’ enemy of kindness, attachment is it’s ‘near’ enemy.

    Far enemy appears as such and is obvious. On the other hand, the near enemy, which in this case is attachment and having the same kind of associated feelings, comes across as a friend. Does this not make this latter more dangerous? As it is, feeling is the one thing that we are moved by in all our interactions, as in something is agreeable only because it feels good. And now we have something that ‘feels right’ which also ‘feels good’, so what do you think will result from this? Would one not end up encouraging what is essentially evil but thinking that it is good?

    Different perceptions condition different train of thoughts. Sometimes we perceive something good in others and our thoughts are one way, at other times we see differently and proliferate further in that direction. One is therefore not asked to change the line of thought, but to understand what is at the root of the thinking at the time. The problem with all of us is that it is with ignorance and attachment that we feel driven to act upon our thoughts most if not all of the time.

    What is it that we are ignorant of then? Not information about other people and the world out there, but of the reality now, including what motivates our thinking. In other words, we are ignorant of ignorance itself and of the craving, conceit, aversion and other unwanted mental realities which usually come along. On the other hand, not knowing for example, what goodwill really is either, we end up mistaking our own attachments as being friendliness and concern for others.

    And the point is not that you come to perceive correctly what these are so that you can then act rightly, but that the very impulse to act, if motivated by craving will be understood as being *the* problem. Ambition with regard to ‘doing good’ is not somehow better than that which is directed towards material gains.

    I think it good that you make reference to ‘universal morality’. But how does one really know what morality is? Do you need to ask anyone what is right and what is not if you developed your own understanding about all this? It seems that people need to convince themselves into acting rightly by making reference to abstract concepts such as justice and humanity. But would you need to do this if you came to understand that good is what it is because this is its nature, likewise evil has its particular intrinsic characteristics? Not to speak of then having doubt and thinking that perhaps all this is arbitrary, references to justice and humanity will be seen in fact as ideas conceived of, due exactly to the lack of understanding!
     

Share This Page