“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.” ~ Marie Curie
Ever since the Neil Young, Joe Rogan news broke, I’ve been thinking about what we owe our fellow human beings. I’ve only heard snippets of the controversy but I ask myself, is it okay to allow misinformation to spread? Is it okay to take a stand against a social media company for the content they allow? Do public figures have the right to share their opinion or to explore controversial subjects? And is it okay for us to vilify another person for the things they say and do that we don’t agree with?
A few days later, the Whoopi Goldberg controversy was in the news referring to her statements about the Holocaust. Some public figures accused ABC of overreacting for suspending Whoopi when she said that “…the Holocaust was not about race, it was about man’s inhumanity to man.” Whoopi clarified on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, that she thought she and her fellow View hosts were having a conversation. One where everyone had a chance to share their opinion, then explore the different facets of the issue and hopefully learn something from the discussion. She also said that her opinion is that the Holocaust is about ethnicity, not about race, which she explained to Stephen Colbert. But, she also said she’s willing to learn from further conversation, if she’s wrong.
A day or so ago, Barry told me about a recent StarTalk Radio episode where Neil deGrasse Tyson talked with with sociologist Nicholas Christakis about his book Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Corona Virus on the Way We Live. This episode aired on January 18, 2022. It’s interesting to hear that plagues, and pandemics throughout human history were also rife with misinformation. In a way, that was comforting to hear, in another way it’s sad that we haven’t learned much from the past.
One thing that occurred to me as I was thinking about what I’d write in this post, is the fact that I’m a public figure. My audience isn’t very large, but my blog posts and podcast episodes are out in the world for anyone to consume. So far, people seem to like what I write and the conversations I have with my guests. Yet, the day will most likely come when someone will take exception to an opinion I or one of my guests express. In such a situation, what is my responsibility to my consumers?
It’s happened to me before. When I was in college, the campus minister delivered a very conservative Valentine’s Day sermon about chastity, and … well you know the drill. Rick Sarre, an Australian friend of ours wrote an op ed piece in the school newspaper challenging the minister and his point of view. That started a controversy, which my op ed piece defending and expanding on Rick’s turned into a conflagration. Both Rick and I were vilified, not just by current students, but by alumni as well. Many of the objections to what we wrote had nothing to do with a true discussion. They were about schooling us in our incorrect thinking. We challenged the status quo, and THAT was our offense.
What I believe, because I was taught this, is that I do have a responsibility to my fellow human beings, to listen to and care for them even if they have vastly different experiences and opinions from my own. But it’s also my responsibility to share my own point of view. That’s how true conversations are supposed to go. I express my opinion, you express yours, which might be different, and we keep examining the different aspects of the issue until we either come to a consensus, or we agree to disagree. The challenge and hope is that in the end, we can still appreciate each other’s right to our point of view, and even learn something vital from them.
Maybe what we need to do is learn how to converse with each other again. Caring for someone is committing to actually listening to them on an active level; listening with our thoughts, and emotions. As Brené Brown’s latest book, Atlas of the Heart examines, we all have the same emotions even if we don’t live in the same location on the planet. So, if we are paying attention, have compassion, and empathy for one another, we can find some common ground. But to do that, it takes willingness to be open and vulnerable. That’s hard to do sometimes especially when we’re wounded ourselves. That’s why working on ourselves is so important. It’s pretty hard to show compassion for someone when all we want to do is protect ourselves.
I’m still thinking about my responsibility to all of you. For now, I’ll be as honest about what’s going on with me and what I’m thinking as I possibly can.
Welcome new followers. Thanks to all of you who read, like, and comment on these posts.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2022
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.
Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a podcast where she and her guests discuss their creative endeavors, and/or the stories that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.
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