A community of those who have nothing in common

March 5, 2010 at 11:47 am 2 comments

1000 people are gathered to share and explore ways for all of us to engage in a dialog that respects our differences. Most of the speakers stress our common humanity and common needs we share as a basis for such a peaceful tolerant global community, but here’s the problem: it’s in people’s nature to seek the common and group themselves by commonalities.

But the emergent human knowledge we’re acquiring in this era is how to love and share and commune with DIFFERENT people. NOT by stressing the thing we DO have in common but by learning to be ourselves and let others be themselves and still be together.To me this is the new stage in human evolution and that is the true meaning of living in diversity, not searching common ground but truly loving that otherness and sharing ours. Being special among specials IS being together.

The speakers here seem to think that providing us with knowledge about the other will create tolerance, but The Jewish French philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas, through that the more we know the other the more we erase his identity. You often find extremists that are experts in the culture, language and mindsets of the people they hate. In history, Cortez, who took time to study Indian cultures and languages was the one who killed most of them.

There’s a difference between knowing and meeting. In meeting, we are faced with the other’s otherness and we can fear this encounter and resort to xenophobia, or start breathing, open up to this experience. Growing fond of what we can’t understand and don’t agree with, that is the mechanics of respect and that is self growth too. I’m sitting in a session dealing with youth education and policies and i’m wondering if we can really identify the root of the problem as i have just framed it and do we have tools to educate for THAT?

Carmel Vaisman




Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Internet and Terrorism Let’s play a game

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nader  |  March 5, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Dear Carmen,

    Here are my comments:

    1) I do not think it needs a gathering of 900 people and intense discussion and debate to reach the conclusion that we should respect diversity and accept the differences we have. So to me, although these discussions deserve respect, they present nothing new.

    2) The root of the problem is leaving out the intolerant people from the discussion. What’s the use of discussing “religious tolerance” and ” accepting diversity” with intellectual and well-educated people who are already tolerant or at least are ready to be tolerant? I think the missing audience in this forum is the audience that is intolerant: extremists, racists, ethno-centrists and others…why aren’t they a part of the discussion? Aren’t they the most problematic people and a part of the root cause of the problem?

    Good luck

    • 2. carmelv  |  March 5, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      yes, i thought of that too… that we have no access to the people who need this training but maybe we’re already giving up on this generation and trying to educate kids before they’re approached by extrimits and forced o choose sides?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed



Pictures from the Anna Lindh Forum

%d bloggers like this: