“The greatest problem in the world today is intolerance. Everyone is so intolerant of each other.”
- Princess Diana
Having said that…
“If each man or woman could understand that every other human life is as full of sorrows, or joys, or base temptations, of heartaches and of remorse as his own… how much kinder, how much gentler he would be.”
- William Allen White
I came across the above quotes earlier this week and sat with them a bit. I sat with them to really take in what they mean to me; my interpretations according to my understandings, which is one of my points today. Quotes mean what I want or need them to mean to justify or expand my reality, respectively. According to my definition, this intolerance that Princess Di speaks of exists because people do not have a reason nor an understanding for tolerance to have a place in their lives. Said people are quaint in their reality of self-righteousness and existence, not co-existing. I suggest that intolerance is not really the issue at play. The language that we use when approaching such universal subjects is what gets lost in the definition shuffle.
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the late Princess’ approach to raise an awareness that we are so unaccepting, or perhaps impatient, and it is that which brings suffering to the masses. But, what struck a nerve for me is her use of the words, problem and intolerance. They produce such a negative connotation to such an inspiring perspective. What that quote says to me is that we need to be more tolerant. We need to be more able to put up with people’s shit. No where does it say how to do such a thing. No where does it offer an opposing approach. Not only do I read negativity, but I also read subjectivity because I do not believe that everyone can relate to intolerance. To relate to intolerance we all have to experience intolerance on the same level and I’m not so sure if that fits into everyone’s reality. Ya understand? This brings me to the second quote by Mr. William Allen White. I believe, with the help of White’s words, that the greatest reality (not problem) we face is what we do not understand nor care to understand, and not intolerance. It is from that foundation that breeds tolerance or intolerance. It is from that foundation that we accept or dismiss. It is from that foundation that can lead to joy or suffering for one or many. “How much kinder, how much gentler he would be” if we took the time to understand a reality that was not our own by using such relatable life experiences (sorrow, joy, temptations, remorse) that we all share to give oneself a glimpse into another’s journey. Sure, we don’t all have to live such cliche morbid lives, but the reality is that life can be tough if we don’t make an effort to understand nor give consideration to ourselves and others.
What quotes say is one thing for us to understand. What they don’t say and imply is a-whole-nother ballpark that’s rarely sees the limelight.
“Silence is the language of god, all else is poor translation.”