A Letter to the Community about Tolerance

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Krysyy, Apr 4, 2018.

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  1. Dear Community,

    As most of you have seen, we have allowed quite the debate to take place in our controversial topics section lately. These topics are so often fueled by more than just studies and numbers. So I'd like to take a moment to remind you that there are people behind the screens that you are talking to. Those people come from all different cultural, social, and physical backgrounds and upbringings and they are your fellow community members.

    I've recently seen a thread with players practically shouting at each other about facts and opinions. When someone doesn't agree with our point of view, too often do we go on the offense and expect them to change their minds. We recite facts and figures designed to 'prove' our point correct. To what end? Instead, the other side more often than not, goes on the defensive and attempts to discredit every 'fact' or 'figure' thrown in their direction. I don't put those two words in quotations to insult their legitimacy, but rather to highlight the underlying cause here. Statistics and scientific studies are never going to cause the other person to just accept your way of thinking and have everyone sitting around the campfire and holding hands. That's not how the human brain operates.

    So why the message? Well, the community is in need of a reminder of how the brain actually operates. When you experience something, there are chemical signals fired in your brain and synapses form. You can think of these as mental pathways that form a linkage of association across parts of your brain. It might cause you to think of your grandmother when you see a rice krispie treat, or refuse to turn left at a red light because of that one bad wreck you witnessed as a direct result of it. Whatever the reason, these networks of brain synapses form in our brains every day. The more repetitive the experience in our lives, the stronger the pathway becomes. At some point, it becomes indoctrinated belief and makes up a part of how we mentally assess a situation, or information for that matter. It basically becomes a part of what makes us who we are.

    When we think of threads that are labeled controversial on EMC, the reason they are labeled as such is because a good number of the population have contradicting indoctrinated beliefs about the topic. Religion, sexuality, politics, etc all include issues that by the age you are old enough to play on this server, you've already formed a pretty strong neurological pathway for. As a result, it's going to take a lot more than a stranger on the internet to change your mind. Being presented with contradicting beliefs is a good thing, in that it allows you to be aware that there ARE other people that think differently from you. There are people from all sorts of backgrounds and with all kinds of experiences that have made them who they are. No one is the same, and that should be celebrated.

    The next time you find yourself in the controversial section wondering why players become so heated over a topic, think about who that person is behind the computer screen. They aren't fueled by hatred towards you just because they don't agree with your viewpoint. They just don't see things your way because their upbringing was different and those synapses in their brain are naturally different. More socially progressive ideals, for example, are widely accepted by the younger population because of the culture of today, but not necessarily comfortable for others. Particularly older generations, who were taught from a young age in a different time period to think a certain way, are going to have a lot harder time just accepting change. They may come around in stages, but that's not a guarantee.

    Here is a personal story of mine about tolerance. My grandmother is devoutly catholic. She was raised from a young age with the belief that the measure of her success was determined by her catholic legacy. By that I mean that she considers herself happy and successful if she raises a healthy, catholic family. My mother is the same way, as she was taught in the same quaint town to think the same way. When the Bruce Jenner situation first hit local media, my grandmother and mother were appalled. They were presented with a situation brought into their living rooms on the TV that they were not comfortable with, according to their upbringings. They would change the channel if the news topic came up and avoided it as much as they could, but eventually they accepted that such issues were a part of the news and they couldn't truly avoid it forever. So they stopped changing the channel. They took a small step of tolerance that they were comfortable with at the time. That was a few years ago. More recently, the topic of a sex change in a person no longer receives the appalled response as before. Instead, my mother now lives by the ideals of 'to each their own'. She's become extremely tolerant of issues that fully contradict her religion and background. However, she's not going to purposefully seek out such news and will never be an 'ally' in any sense of the word, and I would never expect her to. She was raised in a certain way to think a certain way and that's fine. Tolerance is progress.

    So I leave you with this. I am me and you are you. We are all a community, so let's act like it.


    (note: this thread is intentionally locked to encourage you to simply read and digest what is written, not to debate the topic)
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