Lalalala...I can't hear you!

Published 05, Dec, 2017
Author // Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder: "When we keep closing doors we don't learn. When we constantly argue we risk pissing into the wind..."

Lalalala...I can't hear you!

"Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil." Japanese proverb. The Three Wise Monkeys

I have to admit that I tend to look for only those opinions and ideas that support my own personal belief system. Most notably anything political. I'm left-leaning and so listening to people who are also left-leaning is my preference. I shut out anything that doesn't fit my idea of the world.

I think this is a human trait. I believe that we all, from whatever stripes we wear, look for only those things that support our inner view of the world. But what I'm missing is hearing another person's point of view - and there's nothing wrong with another person's point of view, it's just different from mine.

This is clearly evident in American politics. People who support Trump listen to opinions from FOX TV; people who don't support Trump read the New York Times and watch MSNBC. Our world view is part of our ego - we have to maintain the balance of the Universe at all costs and that means shutting out that which might rip a hole in the fabric of time and space.

It's no different for people living with HIV (or not). The U=U campaign is a good example. Besides being based on fact and science, U=U supports my opinion about the transmission of HIV and that I, in fact, am not a "vector of disease". But there are those who question the campaign and its validity. It's an opinion based mostly on feelings rather than facts, but if I don't somehow honour those thoughts and ideas I do them and myself a disservice. By shutting them out, I open the door for them to shut me out.

When we keep closing doors we don't learn. When we constantly argue we risk pissing into the wind...

Humans are not Vulcans: we don't view the world through the lens of dispassionate logic like Mr. Spock. There are a lot of grey shades involved in being human and when we reduce each other's ideas to black or white, right or wrong we're just "us and them" "for me or against me".

I don't know what the answer is, but I wonder if we learned to listen to someone with whom we disagree, without getting our own personal "stuff" in the way, we might see where we have things in common rather than simply where we differ. At the very least we might understand the other person and their particular perspective.

Will I stop looking for things that support my view? No. I take comfort in my "tribe" and how we come together, but perhaps I might try a little harder to see that other people don't think like me and that's okay.

About the Author

Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder currently works with POZitively Connected, a project of Vancouver Island Persons Living with HIV AIDS Society. Positively Connected provides social connection and support to gay/bi men living with HIV. He has previously sat on the board of directors of the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS), and has been involved in the HIV/AIDS movement since 1987. He worked with CAS in development and writing of the One Foot Forward Series of self training modules for people living with HIV and other work. Michael is always available for writing work, workshop development/presentation as well as public speaking.

Michael's social media connections are @michaely1961 on twitter and on Facebook here.