Allowing space for tolerance
Yurts at Poncha Pass - Colorado Yurt Rentals and Sustainable Building Workshops - Photo of Chris in ground of Earthship

Written by Chris

February 23, 2014

Here in Curacao, there are a lot of roadside shops, often referred to as snacks. Driving at night, you can often spot them by their blue beer bottle labeled walls, neon lights, and a few patrons hanging out front, and or sitting on a couple of plastic chairs. White wrought iron bars cover the counter, leave a small window for exchanges of goods including liquor, beer, cigarettes, pastries of cheese and meat referred to as pastechies, and assorted bins of candy. Despite their uniform regularity on the roadway and appearance, each of them reflects a single family business and therefore a unique flavor to the island culture.

I found myself sitting at such a snack a few weeks ago. Sitting under the portal looking out over a few palm trees and a roundabout, I was enjoying hanging out with two friends at the end of the night. The lack of traffic and gentle rustle of wind through the palm trees made for relaxing conversation and easy-going end to the evening. The night would not have stood out in my mind apart from other nights if it weren’t for what one of my friends said.

He told us a story in which he was often confronted with people with separate opinions from his own. Beyond the strife of getting through conversations, he said the most important thing he found to be valuable and relevant through the whole process was to “agree to disagree.” It is such a simple saying and perhaps anticlimactic in the world of debate. But if one dissects the true meaning of it, it is a truly powerful tool of tolerance.

Anyone can observe a viewpoint that they do not agree with. The world is riddled with contradictions and separate opinions stemming from unique cultures generated from separate histories. If I met you on the street and talked long enough to you, there is probably something we’ll disagree on eventually. But how would we handle that juncture? Often it ends by, “but your wrong,” or a “to be continued moment,” and sometimes sadly in violence.

If however, we are able to “agree to disagree,” it means two things. One is that I observe your perspective and have attempted to understand it. One has to understand a perspective to really disagree with it. Only through patience and a real desire to see someone else’s viewpoint, ahead of pushing ones own agenda is understanding even remotely possible. This is incredibly difficult, especially when driven by our own conviction of being right. The second is to agree to let someone else’s opinion be. The contradictions that we saw yesterday and those that are present today, will most certainly be around tomorrow. There will always be different opinions and to say “OK” to that, is to agree on something, even if it is only the space for each other’s thoughts, values, and ideas. If this can be achieved, it provides a foundation of tolerance and allows the possibility of future conversations discussing the topic, not as right or wrong, but with genuine curiosity.

There are of course basic human rights, and we may not be able to “agree to disagree,” with people who violate those rights, but in terms of religion and personal opinions, is seems to me the world could benefit greatly from the concept of agreeing, to disagree.

Related Articles

A Brave New World – The arrival of AI through flow of logic

A Brave New World – The arrival of AI through flow of logic

A Brave New World was written by Aldous Huxley and discusses just how a technological future might look like for earthlings. It sits atop a list of other noted books including 1984 (George Orwell) and The Foundation Series (Isaac Asimov) which eerily predict the...

Sphere of influence – the expanding/collapsible bubble

Sphere of influence – the expanding/collapsible bubble

Those who have known me for a while have heard occasionally about efforts to bring to market ocean wave driven pumps. Since 2009, I have been involved in the development of sustainable wave energy in some form or another. I still consult on the projects from time to...

The Ecosystem Engineer

The Ecosystem Engineer

Earlier this summer I went on a camping trip with my family. We drove up from New Mexico to Silverton Colorado and took the steam train down towards Durango. A ways down the canyon on the Animas River, we got off and spent two days camping along the river. It was...

Stay Up to Date by Following Us on Instagram

Follow Us

Be the first to see what’s new, workshop announcements, and yurt life on Poncha Pass.

Yurts at Poncha Pass - Colorado Yurt Rentals and Sustainable Building Workshops - Summer 2023 flyer earthship workshop
Yurts at Poncha Pass - Colorado Yurt Rentals and Sustainable Building Workshops - Spring 2023 Workshop group eating out

COME RELAX WITH US

Come stay if you are looking for a peaceful and comfortable place to hang your hat while relaxing and adventuring around in nature. And after adventuring don’t forget to regenerate at a cellular level with our wood-burning sauna and cold plunge tub, immersed in good old fashioned nature therapy.