The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Your facts do not match my beliefs

These words, heard today from an unexpected source, suddenly gelled one of two themes that seem to have been following me around in one form or another for some months now (particularly actively in the past three or so weeks): possibly because while I don't claim to hold fact, I do try to understand the perspectives of others ... but that understanding does not automatically or inevitably equate to agreement. In acknowledging but not automatically embracing the perspectives of others for my own, it follows that I don't contort myself into another's belief structure.

Self-knowledge and self-assurance allow us to say "yes" with confidence, to accept the minor, inadvertent intrusions into "our" space that sometimes occur in the process of everyday interaction. Conviction gives us the ability to say "no" to those attempting to force their belief structures upon us. Etiquette gives us the tools to be able to accept a "no" from another when we have forcefully (and possibly unknowingly) crossed their boundaries ... but only courtesy and respect for others give us the societal glosses to be able to hear and accept such a "no", to be able to step back from confrontation without necessarily conceding that terrifying potential that we might possibly be wrong ...


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