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Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Inability To Comm

I recently wrote a post on intolerance of opposing viewpoints on college campuses in the USA. Interestingly enough, and one should add - obviously enough, the problem extends deeper into all parts of society.
And that makes sense. To assume that intolerance rears it head only in one segment of a society is a simpleton's belief.

Good article in Tablet:
The Closing of the American Jewish Mind

A shul reconsiders an invitation to give a talk on politics, based on a perception of the speaker’s political affiliations—and healthy dialogue takes yet another blow

By Julian E. Zelizer
... The vitriol makes it less likely that Israel will be a topic of discussion among American Jews in our communal institutions. Not only does this politicization undermine our ability to interact as a true community, rather than as an institution of factions, but it actually stifles the possibility for congregations to talk about and think about and to enjoy the central role of Israel in our collective experience. The executive vice president of the Academy for Jewish Religion told the Times of Israel that many rabbis were reporting being “unable or not comfortable talking about Israel in their synagogues. It didn’t come from a lack of love. They’re deeply invested in Israel, and yet they felt they could not get into a conversation without deeply offending other parts of their community.” ...

We have lived too long on the stories we tell ourselves.

We do not wish to communicate ("comm"); we wish to reside in the Story we have received, embellished, and lived in for so many years, even more so now that we feel the winds of reality blowing against that Story's facade.

(a note on this;
I have been asked why focus on a Story - which is a form of communication - destroy communication?
The answer is that Story - particularly a very strong and emotional story which enchants us and keeps our attention - does not require any other form of communication while it is going on. For example, a wonderful movie which totally enthralls us. When the movie ends and the lights go up, we are startled and a bit sad to be set free from the enchantment.
But while the movie was on, nothing but nothing made us turn our gaze away from the screen, and the emotional link was unsevered.

To truly comm with another of a different view, one must allow one's attention to turn away from one's guiding Story and make oneself able to sympathetically view someone else's story.)

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