So … the headline is somewhat tongue in cheek. To be more specific, I’m writing in support of all those who are labelled as such (whether explicitly or implied), based on their opinions about the current global situation, which they have formed based on what they consider to be rational, discerning, considered reasoning. Particularly, the people who deeply care. The people who have spent hours consuming vast swathes of information, trying to make sense of it all. The people who want to know and do what is “right”. The people who fit all these descriptions, and yet are being attacked and condemned for their views, or who keep their views hidden out of fear, because they don’t align with the left-wing phrase of the moment: “the mainstream narrative”.
Let me be clear that the point of this piece is not to argue my case, even though my stance is at least partially obvious. I’ve grappled with urges to rant and rave on social media, but I’ve held back. Partly because I’m scared of the backlash it’s likely to spark (confrontation and argument is something I tend to avoid), partly because I can acknowledge that I could be “wrong” or change my mind, partly because I don’t have all the answers, and partly because I can observe that such an urge is more about an egoic desire to assert my opinions, gain reassurance from those in agreement, convince everyone else of my rightness and their wrongness, and generally feel validated and right. A futile and worthless pursuit.
The point is to highlight that we seem to be demonstrating an unwillingness to peacefully respect views that differ from our own on the current situation. The point is to invite you to consider communicating with dignity, kindness, and respect with your fellow human beings, especially about the current global events. The point is to acknowledge that a dissenting viewpoint does not automatically equate with callousness, immorality, or ignorance.
It’s natural that emotions are intensified given the scale of this situation, and given what is perceived to be at stake. As such, it can be expected that people are impassioned in their views. And yet, it is within each of us to be capable of at least considering another’s perspective.
We each have our unique experiences, circumstances, culture, upbringing, and a multitude of other factors, that colour how we think and feel about every conceivable aspect of our lives. What is of prime value to one person, isn’t necessarily so for the next.
I’ll illustrate with my own example of what influences a proportion of my stance.
The current mandates in Melbourne go against virtually everything I’ve been outgrowing and shedding for over 10 years. I’ve learned to mistrust the standard western medicine paradigm regarding health and chronic disease (with its focus on medicating symptoms rather than determining and treating the cause of disease and facilitating health)(side note: I do value western medicine when it comes to emergency care); I’ve learned that pharmaceuticals can be helpful and sometimes lifesaving, but always come with a price; I’ve learned not to be subservient or entrust my health to any outside authority (but instead to take empowered responsibility for my own health and well-being, and when necessary, utilise the support of a likeminded practitioner with whom I’ve developed a sense of trust); I’ve learned that my body doesn’t ever fail me (but is inherently geared towards self healing); I’ve learned not to ignore my intuition (and that it is constantly communicating with me); I’ve learned that lack of physical connection is devastatingly detrimental (and that connection heals); I’ve learned to let go of fear (and instead chose love). These have been deep and hard learned lessons, and so to have distancing and isolation and masks and fear and a vaccine as a desperately awaited saviour imposed upon us feels so excruciatingly and viscerally WRONG. I simply do not live in a paradigm where these actions make any sense whatsoever. And yet I’m aware that my paradigm is so foreign to the mainstream that to voice this painful perception will, based on what I’ve observed amongst media, influencers, friends and family, likely result in condemnation. The most hurtful judgement voiced regularly is that my views equate with devaluation of the lives of high-risk individuals.
It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t a one-sided fight – there are plenty of dissidents in this situation who are just as guilty of judging and shaming their “opponents”, seemingly determined to bring them down. However, it seems, from my perspective, it is the dissidents who are overwhelmingly vilified.
Robust discussion and sharing of views is a healthy part of life. Learning that universal agreement and approval is a fantasy, is part of growing up. But the mark of maturity is in learning to respectfully disagree.
“United we stand, divided we fall.” I suspect many of us have misunderstood this motto. It’s not possible for us all to be united in our beliefs and opinions, but that doesn’t doom us. We can be united in our acceptance of such differences. The division that will fell us comes from the harsh, uncompromising, vitriolic, violent judgement of each other. I know that for me personally, I can accept – albeit with some difficulty – the decisions of the government so far, even though I don’t like or agree with them. I also recognise the importance of drawing a line, of holding authority to ethical standards, and taking action when human rights, civil liberties and other critical societal matters are at risk of being violated. It might seem unrealistically utopian, and clearly this is a complex situation, but there is a way to come together despite our differences. At least, as a start, we can do our part as individuals to treat our fellow humans with dignity, respect, and kindness.
So, to all the conscious, responsible, caring, curious, questioning, widely read, discerning, rational, informed, intelligent, free thinkers …
I see you.
I hear you.
I feel you.
I love you.