Don’t write off opposing viewpoints
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
Our personal views, opinions, and beliefs are an essential part of who we are. Differing viewpoints—whether they are philosophical, political, religious, or just social—divide and cause conflict among humanity. Individuals argue on a personal level and countries argue on a national level, especially politically. What is the best way to help our own citizens? How should we treat immigrants and people from other countries? How much money should we spend on these matters? We continue to debate these issues no matter our position of power, whether we are patrons at a café or politicians on a televised debate.
What we fail to recognize is that our personal views are not necessarily the correct ones. There may not even be a subjective “correct” way to run things. Not everyone is an expert on everything they have an opinion about, and views can change very easily. Sometimes it only takes one article or argument to change an opinion, or at least make someone consider alternative viewpoints.
It’s essential that we listen to, and perhaps even embrace, views different from our own. In an academic setting, almost every topic is debated. Experts—sometimes world-renowned and the best in their field—continue to argue and defend their beliefs. Psychologists debate correct areas of human behaviour. Theologians debate the history and truth behind organized religion. Physicists debate the behaviours of particles smaller than an atom. Ultimately, the “correct” viewpoint may never be found, and this is also recognized in academia. Most of the formal debate is respectful, subjective, and based on an understanding of the opposing argument’s value. New discoveries, viewpoints, and ideas continue to be introduced, and affect human knowledge of many fields.
We all have common goals and values. Generally, we can agree that we want to help the less fortunate in the world and treat others with respect. We seek to advance ourselves and humanity as a whole through education, stability, and progress. Our politicians all want to run Canada as effectively as possible; they merely differ on how to do so. No one is completely correct in his or her assessment, and everyone’s beliefs add something to the discussion. Not all Canadians are in agreement on how things should run, either, as shown by vote splitting. However, we all seek progress and a higher quality of living.
Diversity and variety is represented across the country through our citizens, cultures, political processes, religions, and practices. Seeking one correct viewpoint and arguing that your personal beliefs are the “right” ones ignores that reality. What works for one person may not for another. What works in one area may not for another. Cultures, life experiences, and circumstances all lead to division in our views of how the world works. Why not seek to embrace other’s experiences and understand what they see, and why? It will help us all improve.