Debra Swersky
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Opt-in for weekly journal, not blog, posts.


Listen up: The apocalypse didn’t take place this week. 

For sure it was a stressful week for the country, but we survived. Regardless of the side you’re on - and I won’t display my political prowess for you, but there are more than two sides - the country is now moving forward. Yes, for documentation purposes, there were riots, protests, petitions etc. etc. Those things happened. I didn’t partake in them… I Skimm’d them. What did I do? I listened to the TED Radio Hour episode called “Democracy on Trial” and tried to understand as much of what was going on in the country as possible. 

Being hopelessly behind on the current events that affect the state of our nation (and without the capacity to retain historical facts), my political stance typically revolves around trying to understand a viewpoint and deciding if I too would like to adopt it… this is where the little spoon approach comes in super handy. 

The “Democracy on Trial” episode was perfect for me to take in during election week. Though there were several TED Talks discussed, I enjoyed Julia Galef’s interview on her talk “Why you think you’re right even if you’re wrong” the most. In her conversation with Guy Raz they talked about the content of her talk: warrior vs. scout mindsets and the unconscious reasoning that each brings to the table. I had to watch the talk to understand the big picture of the concept, but it was when she said in her interview, “try to look for the crux of the disagreement” that it hit me. 

Finally, after all of these years of hating myself for my inability to retain current events, historical data, the set-up of our government, and all of the important stuff that I’m “supposed to know” I can relax and just do exactly what I’ve been doing since I realized my ineptitude… except be a bit more intentional about it.

  1. Seek to understand. 
  2. Find the “crux” of the disagreement.
  3. Perform thought experiments.

Go figure, this is my life (and even more so now that I’m at LionsMouth). Given my lack of knowledge I make tons of assumptions and have to ask a lot of questions that sound something like, “If I found out that [whatever assumption I made about the world/situation] was incorrect/correct, would that change my opinion on [whatever issue is being discussed]?” and on… and on… and on… Politics. Technology. Business. etc. etc. etc.

In the back of my mind I know that I can always say “we can agree to disagree” and move on with life, but that seeking to understand where the other person is coming from will help me to more holistically understand the crux of the disagreement.

In short, politics suck. That’s why they’re considered to be one of those taboo topics (amongst religion, sex, money, and your health). But, my take is that if you can navigate the political discussion by trying to understand what the other person is thinking… or why… or where that mentality is coming from… then you can either take their opinion or “agree to disagree.” Just give the conversation a try first...

Debra Swersky