Connection is More Important Than Being Right
"We think it is more important to be right than it is to appeal to the humanity of people we disagree with." - Hannah Gadsby
I used to be a proud member of “Internet Fight Club”. I loved to debate, and I was good at it. It felt great to back my “opponent” into a rhetorical corner and making it clear to everyone that they were so very wrong, and I, of course, was so very right.
A lot of this was tied to the concept of winning and losing, and I should have known better. This went both against my training in Aiki philosophy and the Jedi Way. Aikido taught me that we are not to defeat our opponents, but rather to bring them back into balance. We want an outcome where no one feels like they lost. Jedi philosophy teaches me that any encounter can have several outcomes, and when I concentrate solely on winning, I sully my victory. It is better to lose well than to win badly. A peaceful outcome is preferred over winning or losing.
When we have strong attachments to a particular issue, we sometimes engage in a debate defending our views but failing to connect with those on the other side. We see issues, viewpoints, opinions, and assertions and fail to see the humanity, the suffering, the lived experiences, and oppression of those engaged in the discussion. We may strive for an ideal of objectivity, while at the same time dismissing actual suffering by those who are affected by whatever we are debating and cannot so separate themselves from the very real consequences of your so-called “objective” view. I have seen people dismiss the opinions of the oppressed because they fail to divorce themselves from the emotional reality of their situation. If you are a Jedi and hold such a view, you have failed as a Jedi to hold to one of the cornerstones of our path: compassion. In order to score points in rhetoric, you have dismissed someone's humanity and have lost an opportunity to connect with a fellow human being, all because of an attachment to being right.
A Jedi of quality does not allow strong emotion to distort their view. But I believe that a Jedi of quality would not willfully blind themselves to emotional reality in the name of objectivity. Objectivity without being balanced with empathy is a brutality. As the Force connects all things, we as Jedi are called to participate in that connection. A Jedi creating distance between people in the name of objectivity has failed to grasp what is truly important in our interactions.
Disagreements are an opportunity. What will you do with it? It is an opening where a Jedi of quality can find connection and balance. It is an opportunity to obtain new knowledge that can displace ignorance. It is a place where we can engender connection. Or we can dismiss the Jed Path and hold on to our attachment to being right. The choice is yours, Jedi.