THE ART OF LIMITATION: Exclusionary Perceptions
Tracey Lin Miller
On the Path to Understanding
January 13, 2013
Many of us have been raised with an either/or concept about most things: Therefore the concepts of acceptance, win/win situations, or inclusion are missing from most of our interactions on all levels. Is there no wonder then, that when one country invades another, it goes about systematically destroying cultures, rituals and traditions which have been held by the invaded country for thousands of years? Governments can only reflect the beliefs of the majority since all of its politicians come from the same pool of thought: hence, this exclusionary perception is the only understanding available and utilized.
This was quite evident in the Obama/Romney president election of 2012, when the country was almost equally divided in the choice of candidates. This black and white take on things (pun intended) was evident every step of the way. With each candidate being perceived as liars, tricksters and the eventual cause of the fall of America by opposing factions, the exclusionary perception concept was more then evident.
The different camps of politicians and their supporters could not begin to perceive that perhaps their was good and not so good in their opponents camp and therefore could never have conceived of a middle ground and perhaps a third candidate, who utilized the best of each groups point of view to, perhaps, create a platform which was more inclusive and could manifest a more unified government for all of the people.
In a similar way, when there is intervention in other countries, the overtaking government does not consider the culture and customs of the country, but instead, imposes all of its ideas and belief systems upon the policed one in order to make it more civilized or democratic without care or concern for its disruption and destruction of the current customs and rituals. In this way, many valuable assets of moral, ethical and the potential for a more harmonious and peaceful resolution to each countries circumstances is lost in the play for power. This same play to gain power over others is evident in our personal encounters and most relationships of an interpersonal nature.
Whenever we find ourselves with a different perception then others, it becomes our goal to convert the other person to our way of thinking, destroy or discredit their perceptions and/or, elevate ourselves to the only authority upon the topic, utilizing whichever philosophies uphold our belief systems. It does not matter if they have an equally imposing list of proof of their belief systems.
Most recently, I was thinking of my behavior on this subject, and realized that I am extremely guilty of this seek and destroy and authoritative stance. I finally understood that there is more then one way to skin a cat, as my mother would say; and that while I may have a great deal of understanding about most things, my understanding is not the only one. In fact, I have realized that my understanding is only one tiny piece of the puzzle and that we all have a tiny piece of the same puzzle which when joined harmoniously, will give all of us a clearer picture of the whole. Instead, I have worked diligently to prove myself completely right in my understanding, when in fact; I’ve only been right about the part which I understand and that this exclusionary perception has more then likely prevented me from having many allies in my search for the absolute, rather then subjective truth of the workings of life and the universe.
Many of us make this mistake constantly. The absolute teaching we have undergone our life experiences and those we encounter in our environment who unconsciously advocate and practice exclusionary perceptions and belief systems have only reinforced what we think we know; that when we know something beyond the shadow of a doubt, we are right and that anyone who disagrees is wrong. This includes not only our morals, ethics, but also, our choice in religion, life philosophy and thought words and actions based upon these.
The probability of the world being a peaceful place grows exponentially when the concept of inclusionary perceptions is brought into play. The level of tolerance regarding our differences would be the determinant in this equation, as I believe, inclusionary perceptions allow for the acceptance of differences, the ability to include the positive aspect of these differences as part of a global culture and therefore, fewer reasons to have negative reactions to any differences that are not harmful to ourselves as individuals or countries.
If inclusionary perceptions were a part of all the worlds’ religions, this would eradicate the religious belief that others who practice different religions or no religions, were the anti-christ, heathens, dhimmis, and other labeling used in a way that determines a negative position should be taken against nonbelievers of a particular way to worship a god of any sort or no god at all. When atrocities such as jihads, holy crusades, conversion tactics and other forms of persecution are used as a means of forced inclusion or destruction of people who choose a different path, we see the concept of exclusionary perceptions fully at work and how these laws are the cause of much of the world’s discord and carry through to every aspect of our lives. Even religious organizations with the same foundation of beliefs, be they monotheism, polytheism, or atheism don’t have the same rules or rituals and have discord with each other because of their different ways of practicing the same beliefs. There are always one or more groups within a faction which determines itself to be the only pure teaching of that group, hence the division even among those who have the same original foundation.
Exclusionary perceptions and tactics can only open the door for discord, never for harmony and unity in any situation. It is only through learning to accept the rights of others; with a full and complete understanding of free will we can hope to overcome our reactions to each other as individuals or as a nation and know the peace and acceptance we passionately desire.