Monday, December 22, 2008

Civil Discourse

In days of yore, I truly believed it was possible for individuals all over the political spectrum to come together to engage in civil discourse. We would all sit down at a big table -- real or virtual -- to thresh out the points one by one. In time, we would find agreement based on facts, not ideologies nor perspectives.

What a pollyanna view!

As I've aged (and, hopefully, matured), I've found that the whole problem with this premise is that facts are solely in the eye of the beholder!! What is blue to me may be red for you. What is accepted as a firm scientific conclusion to one person may be nothing more than propaganda to another.

How we each view the world and the foundational principles our personal constitution is built upon makes all the difference in the world. For example, if a person accepts the notion of global warming as a hard cold fact, then a lot of the wacky climatic events of the past few years will only underscore the reality of human-caused climate change. If, on the other hand, a person believes that global warming is nothing more than liberal propaganda, such a person will view the advent of this seemingly wacky weather as indicating something completely different or, maybe, not indicating anything at all.

In many cases, religion (or a lack thereof) has a great impact on our definition of fact or reality. What may be self-evident to adherents of one belief system, may be anything but to adherents of a different system.

And for those who might argue that there IS an absolute reality beyond mere human capacity, I would counter -- According to whom? Even if a person accepts the notion of a god or gods, that reality only is absolute from their perspective!

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