Listening to several radio programs this week, I heard the following from many of the hosts and their guests “I get it” when confronted with an alternative view from their own. What immediately followed was a statement beginning with the word “but” and re-stating their view. These were political, sports and social commentary radio programs in which the host or guest acknowledged there are other points of view, and then quickly dismissed them in favor of their own.
So, I wonder, do they really “get” these alternative views? Do they take the time to examine a different orientation? Do they value a critical analysis of their own views? And do they seek out alternative ways of viewing an issue to better understand (and perhaps change or enhance) their own orientation?
In recent conversations with my friend Rich Games — and correspondingly reviewing his Facebook posts — he advocates for us all to become more curious and welcome alternative views of important topics and issues. For example he shared the following on Facebook:
Many of us respond to the unknown with faith in something. What if we responded to the unknown with faith in the unknown? In other words, what if we responded with a faith in unwavering curiosity and open-ended wonderment?
To connect Rich’s advocacy for curiosity to my concern with the phrase “I get it” I believe as individuals and members of social groups we would benefit from asking the following questions:
- What values guide our views?
- Do we challenge ourselves to consider and re-consider how we feel about an issue to the point of examining alternative views?
- Do we intentionally engage with others who differ from us in hopes of more fully understanding an issue and its implications on others and us?
- Do we define ourselves by defending our positions or by our ability to understand multiple views and then take our stand?
I know it is easy to say, “I get it” when alternative views are offered, but do we really “get” the underlying values, principles and potential benefits they offer?
I encourage us to be curious about our own views to fully understand why we prefer them to alternatives and better inform our actions.