Tolerance Is a Double-Edged Sword

Most dictionaries agree that tolerance is the ability or willingness to accept opinions, beliefs, behaviors, and ways of life different from our own, even if we disagree or disapprove of them.

On the surface, that seems an estimable quality, perhaps even exemplary. But tolerance is double-edged. It has a sharp edge and rough edge. Its sharp edge is broad-mindedness. Its rough edge is permissiveness.

Image is courtesy of Lucie StastkovaImage is courtesy of Lucie Stastkova LuSt4ART

What might we expect from the rough edge of tolerance – the indiscriminate acceptance of injustice; violence; abuse; suffering? The answer to this is evidenced somewhat in our global society today, a large element of which is immune to the subtle and progressive infusion of violence; a world hardened and unaffected by behaviors that harm and by the elements employed to inflict it. We’re being brainwashed by a handful of plutocrats who seek to gratify their unquenchable thirst for money and power, and to hell with the rest of us.

When I first heard the words, “Teach Children Tolerance,” I wanted to shout, “We already have! We’ve taught them to tolerate and permit all that’s wrong with the world.” In other words: tolerance run amok.

We’re bombarded daily with images of violence. The news, TV programs, movies, and video games are rife with aggression, murder, hatred, and fear. These images are so frequent and pervasive that many have become desensitized to them and no longer question their presence, validity, or veracity. If it was on the news, it must be true, right? Adults have the ability to reason, but what are we teaching our children when we passively accept and don’t speak out against violence for violence’s sake, violence to make headlines, violence to gross millions?

We’ve grown complacent, even apathetic. Worse yet, we’ve come to expect hatred and violence. When we hear about travesties like the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, we’re incensed, but we’re not surprised. When we hear about yet another terrorist strike somewhere in the world, we’re terrified and infuriated, but we’re no longer surprised.

Expectation is a powerful magnetic force. Many of us don’t realize or understand the inherent and powerful energy dynamics of the human mind. And of those who do, many don’t believe that the energy of thought and intention can travel at the speed of light, both inwardly and outwardly, and thus affect the world around us. The subconscious mind believes that what we expect we therefore desire. And the subconscious mind seeks to serve and gratify.

When we wield the rough edge of tolerance to the extent of habit, we become complacent. Once content inside our familiar little cocoons, it becomes ever easier to turn a blind eye to the injustice and devastation outside. Violence blaring from the TV soon strikes a deaf ear. Images of abuse and suffering crash and collapse against the doors of a closed heart. We soon find ourselves standing on the threshold of apathy. And apathy is a tough nut to crack.

So how to turn this around . . .

Short of an epiphany or incapacitating personal tragedy, disgust and desire come to mind. Both of these emotions can act as internal dynamite. That may sound overly simplistic, but I know that I’m never more moved to take action than when thoroughly disgusted or when aroused by desire. And I’m not referring to sexual desire; although that, too, is a mighty catapult! I’m talking about the urge to alleviate suffering and oppose violence; the compelling force that has its origins in love. I’m talking about the sharp edge of tolerance.

The sharp edge of tolerance allows us to accept without judgment those who look differently, believe differently, worship differently, love differently – all within the context of being rather than harmful action. Simultaneously, it doesn’t condone inflicting harm. It doesn’t sit idly by with remote in hand while suffering is perpetrated, injustice is legislated, and violence is wielded as a means to an end.

Within the context of being, the sharp edge of tolerance moves us to embrace cultural diversity. Within the context of harmful action, it moves us to confront wrongful adversity. It is not complacent and it is not self-righteous. It recognizes what serves and what does not serve to advance and enlighten the spirit. It has the keen ability to split a hair right down the middle, because life is not simply black and white.

Tolerance is a double-edged sword. It can engage and embrace that which serves the advancement of spirit, or it can idle in neutral and accept that which harms all of Mother Earth. It has a hand in defining who we are as a species. I wonder which edge of tolerance we humans will ultimately wield . . .

Until the next time, my friends . . .  Namaste

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20 thoughts on “Tolerance Is a Double-Edged Sword”

  1. If you’d allow me to bloviate for a moment:

    One must take in soul age when trying to make sense of this world. That is why Jesus said what he said about the “first stone.”

    You are an old soul. It radiates from you. But we have to tolerant of our younger brothers and sisters. I rail against injustice all the time. I call that looking at the small picture. What keeps me sane is remembering the big picture.

    First, please understand that all souls were “created” at the same time. Soul age is only a factor of the physical plane. We start off in fear, and end up in love. It is the progression of our choices.

    1. The Infant or First Born Soul. Motto: “Let’s not do it”. The infant Soul perceives itself and the world around it as simply as “me and “not me”. The Infant Soul truly does not know the difference between right and wrong action.
    2. The Baby Soul. Motto: “Do it right or not at all”. The Baby Soul perceives itself and the world around it as “me and “many other mes”.
    3. The Young Soul. Motto: “Do it my way”. The Young Soul perceives itself as “me” and it perceives you as “you”, but it perceives “you” as different from “me”.
    4. The Mature Soul. Motto: Do it anyplace but here”. The Mature Soul perceives others as they perceive themselves.
    5. The Old Soul. Motto: “You do what you want to, and I’ll do what I want”. The Old Soul perceives others as a part of something greater that includes itself. And with this comes the realization that there are no problems except those created by itself. Old Souls more often than not seek the route of least resistance.

    There is not a “better” soul age. Old is not better than Young or Infant. If one remembers that regardless of how you perceive the world around you now, you were once an Infant Soul and came from a place of fear.

    Note the progression, from a place of separateness to a place of ONENESS.

    Please, keep bringing things like this post to our attention. It is how we evolve. I thank you for enlightening me, Red.

    Now get some sleep. You are up all hours of the night.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Wow, Andrew, great teaching. Certainly not a bloviation (unless you’re a pompous plutocrat incognito). 🙂 Speaking of being up all hours of the night… Where in the blazes are you? You should be only 3 hours ahead of me.

    Thanks for taking the time to c-o-m-e-n-t. All kidding aside, I’m thrilled that you dropped in. And I appreciate your kind words. Hugs, my friend xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s not my teaching. I learned it from an entity that goes by the name of Michael. I’m an old man and old men find it hard to sleep. Besides, I like the early morning hours. It’s the only time Danny gives me any peace. Probably because he’s sleeping.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    “Tolerance is a double-edged sword. It can engage and embrace that which serves the advancement of spirit, or it can idle in neutral and accept that which harms all of Mother Earth….” read more of Tina Frisco’s thought-provoking post…in the end, its all about balance and using our inner wisdom to evolve into the finest beings we can be…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I haven’t been overly fond of the word since it first became such an ubiquitous part of our language, because of the more negative connotations attached to it. This is probably going to sound simplistic, but what’s wrong with the word respectful? i.e.: let us all be respectful of each other in regards to race, religion, sexuality, etc. We’re all sharing space on this increasingly crowded planet.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. T, what a powerful piece. Indeed it’s about striking a balance between the edges of the sword. I’m in total agreement with another commenter here, respect is what’s needed back everywhere and from every age. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your words echo my own heart Tina. and this was indeed a powerful piece of writing.. “We’ve grown complacent, even apathetic. Worse yet, we’ve come to expect hatred and violence. ” So true..
    Lovely to meet you and thank you for following my blog.
    I can see I will enjoy following your own..
    Much love to you.
    Sue ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Tina, Many thanks and I look forward to exploring your own.. Please bare with me on this.. We are very busy at the moment in our plot gathering in and sorting out the garden allotments so I catch a few hours here and there on the PC.. Cant sleep at the moment so here I am.. x 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. What you say is so true. Most of us live complacently unless something happens that directly affects us. This is not new, however. This is an endemic part of human nature called apathy. Many of us feel powerless. Why? Because we are afraid to wield power. India might still be part of the British Empire if Gandhi did not take action. It takes great personal strength and courage to take action against the powers that be. There is one Power, however, that can prevail if exercised. Gandhi called it “Soul Force,” and it is available if we are willing to release our fears. This is the step that most folks; including myself, are unwilling to do. A world run by those among us motivated by greed is the inevitable result. Recognizing ourselves is the first step to taking action. Thank you for reminding us that tolerance is not the goal. It is compassion that will create a better world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping in, Dave, and for referencing Gandhi. He is an admirable role model and showed us that the only thing getting in the way of enlightenment is fear. And I agree – recognizing and receiving fully who we are is the first step; and compassion is essential to creating a better world. Your comment is most appreciated ❤

      Like

Namaste, my friends ❤ Tina

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