The day we all agree on everything is the day that we stop getting better. The friction among us is what keeps us moving forward. Conflict is how we learn and discover and make progress for goodness sake.
Getting along with people is something we all enjoy and desire. In a way, we’re all striving to be in agreement (usually struggling to get everyone else to see it our way), but that doesn’t mean the highest good is total agreement. What we should really be after is being able to be in disagreement without killing each other.
Discord is something we should welcome. Deadly violence is something we must all work to abolish.
Deadly violence is the corruption of disagreement. It is what happens when someone takes something good and necessary and perverts it.
It’s all too common today to find something good and then carry it too far. To take something that works and is wonderful and then push it until it’s ugly and sad.
Why do we do it? Why are we compelled to smother something rather than embrace it? Thrash something rather than nurture it. These are the actions of the mentally ill.
As a society, we suffer from an inability to exercise self-control when the occasion most desperately requires it.
We want everything pushed to the extreme. Amped up. Louder. Faster. Angrier. And it doesn’t get any more extreme than deadly violence.
We push and push and push until extreme meets its ultimate end. And then we ask why.
Embrace discord. Embrace our differences and diversity. Embrace what is good and great, and for God’s sake stop falling for the fatal deception of more. More does not mean better and more is not in and of itself the answer. It may be a by-product of the answer, but it is not what we should look to as a solution.
But know this, too. When we do falter—when one of us does go too far and creates a tragedy—it is not an indication of who we are. The reaction to that tragedy is who we are. The tragedy is our opportunity to show one another what we are truly made of. We could make it worse. We could respond to hate and violence with more hate and violence, thereby propagating tragedy, but we are better than that.
The best way to respond to hate and violence is to extinguish it, and that is done with the three things we could always use more of: peace, love and understanding.