A portrait of tolerance
Updated: Mar 10
In nowadays’ globalized world, with an easy access to information (and misinformation), and where everyone easily finds a publishing home for his opinion in social networks, it has been accentuated the use of the term tolerance to label opinions or behaviors without a proper ground. This practice is blurring the true meaning of this value which here we dare to portray.
On a daily basis, it is common to face situations where we disagree with friends, relatives or even our partners. Even though it is often hard to believe it, everyone (despite how radical, arrogant or even absurd you find him) is quite sure about his judgment being correct, fair and, therefore, the most tolerant one. That is why accusing the neighbor of being intolerant usually automatically tags the accuser as such, due to being unable to understand that our fellow intends no evil nor has to be an idiot, he just owns a different perspective from ours. Yes, he owns it, because it is pride what weakens our conversation capabilities minimizing the opportunity to learn from it. We become bothered by an opposite point of view as if it was a personal attack, and that is when we use the instrument of (in)tolerance to discredit our opponent, making like this a disservice to the reputation of the term.
Then, there is the political use. The word tolerance is employed as a tool for controlling our purest and most authentic impulses and behavior. You cannot criticize or express one thing or another because you must be tolerant, but is there greater intolerance than disregarding or labeling the opinion of others, whatever that it is? The problem is not the message, but the forms; it is not the content, but the intentions. To express your innermost beliefs is as necessary as instructive, but in the tenderness of being able to do it without harming the feelings of others lies the genuine attribute of tolerance.
Tolerance is not to like what’s different, but to accept and to respect what bothers you, what you hate; the opposite of you. Fortunately, there is no doubt that in the nearest/near future globalization will become a reality and we will co-exist anywhere in the World with people of different races, cultures, religions, sexual preferences and even musical tastes. By then, the meaning of this word will be different than it is today, it may no longer be used to embellish egos or to dress up prides, but perhaps by then, being tolerant will be as normal and accepted that just the fact of mentioning it will seem ridiculous.
It is important to realize that expressing the need of being tolerant towards someone already points out a difference, being used as a compassion weapon that pushes to a lower lever those to whom it is directed. To sum up, tolerance is not talked about, it is done. You do not talk tolerance, you make it. My apologies, I started to dream, and while dreaming for a little while I felt that we all did not seem equal but, in fact, we were so.