Intolerance is a synonym for sectarianism, obstinacy, and stubbornness. Because it reveals severe emotional deficiencies, we adapt to living with that wrong way of proceeding. This is, without a doubt, another example of the apathy that characterizes us so much.
We live in a social context that promotes poor development and poor performance. Worse, we accept the intense atmosphere of intolerance that affects human relationships with resignation and bemusement. I am concerned about how quickly it spreads and disrupts our quality of life in the most diverse scenarios. It’s in our blood.
I could go on and on about the numerous everyday situations that indicate growing intolerance. Our ability to understand and accept others is deteriorating. We are in a process that is threatening our survival. However, we are doing little or nothing to change this abrasive environment. We are all part of a vicious circle that no longer deserves to be broken.
We see it in heated arguments between couples or between parents and children, where the arrogance of the highest authority imposes its determination; in companies where the boss considers himself the absolute owner of the truth and refuses to admit discrepancies; in political events, where the inability to cohabit with the adversary is undeniable; and even in supermarket queues. The brand new “stress” that we all claim to be victims of is the ideal ruse to justify our lack of deference.
It is simple to understand the vicious cycle caused by intolerance. It is related to a lack of emotional intelligence, making it easier to understand others’ feelings, cope with work pressures and frustrations, and enhance our ability to work as a team and adopt an empathic attitude. This fusion of interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence translates into a broad understanding of one’s emotions. It paves the way for stress management and problem-solving in this way.
It is also associated with a lack of openness. The eagerness to consider ourselves “owners of the truth,” regardless of gender, age, or social status, indicates a high level of intolerance. The lack of a democratic vocation influences this nefarious act to accept the thoughts and options of others as valid. It is inextricably linked to empathy deprivation, the extraordinary ability to put ourselves in our interlocutor’s “shoes” to understand him despite our differences. Knowledge and the internalization of social skills are promoted in this manner, making it an important tool in combating intolerance.
It is inconvenient for some people to develop this faculty because it would force them to assume a comprehensive response in situations where it is easier to respond with aggression, alteration, and obfuscation. At the same time, angry behavior instills fear in others. Some people, orphans of self-control, seek this as a defensive mechanism to avoid being subjected to the critical scrutiny of their surroundings. It is common among parents, officials, teachers, and others. An honest examination of human behavior demonstrates this.
In this regard, I would like to reiterate what I said in my article “Tolerance in Etiquette”: “… though it is difficult for us to admit it, we should recognize that we are part of a community where understanding and benevolence are not incorporated into our daily conduct.” We can confirm this by attending a social gathering and observing the behavior of ladies and gentlemen during conversations about emotional or contentious issues such as politics, sports, etc. We see it in the press media, which ostensibly has transparency, objectivity, and serenity to guide citizen opinion.
Intolerance harms our rational condition, impedes social coexistence, sharpens existing conflicts, and exposes our primitive performance. From my perspective, it’s like the tip of an “iceberg,” revealing the extent of our internal narrowness. It is unfortunate to confirm humanity’s inability to consider others and incorporate understanding, consent, good manners, urbanity, courtesy, and plurality as elements to make life viable and peaceful.
Finally, I recommend it with a reflective spirit and the hope of committing ourselves to the well-versed words of Mahatma Gandhi, the lucid pacifist, thinker, and leader of India’s independence: “I dislike the word tolerance, but I cannot think of a better alternative. Love compels us to have the same regard for the faith of others that we have for our own “.