Two sides of the same coin have a way of looking completely opposite.
I remember flying into a city where the plane appeared to swoop between tall skyscrapers, leaving me feeling unnerved at the seeming proximity of an accidental crash. Through a window, I could see a man in a restaurant washing dishes and could almost hear the clanging of pots and pans in the kitchen visible through another window.
Once on the ground where the skyscrapers stood, the view looked much different. Looking up at an airplane gave me no feeling of an eventual crash. What I saw from below were wings and a white belly, all a good distance from danger. Any contact with a building would defy the laws of physics, or would be caused by gross human error or worse, deliberate planning.
No wonder we get into disagreements with others. Every coin has two sides. Knowing this truth is even better when applied to practical life through our work and personal relationships.
Between two people who are engaged in a conversation, it appears the onus to get along is always on those who acknowledge that there are two sides. They are the ones who have any chance of achieving harmony through understanding, patience, compromise, etc.
As for those who insist that there is only their side of the coin? My hope is that they’d want to throughly explore it and eventually discover that it has a rim — an end to its surface area. Why not? It could lead them to wonder what’s on the other side, paving the way for a more open dialogue and perhaps a chance to somehow meet somewhere in the middle, a place where compassion can begin to overpower cruelty or apathy.
*Last Thursday, I attended what may have been the best Human Rights Watch event ever. This post is inspired by human rights defenders who stand up to faulty systems and tirelessly call attention to injustice, cruelty and corruption in the contemporary world.
**My schedule is unpredictable for the next two weeks. For this reason, my posting schedule will be erratic and comments will be closed. As always, thanks for reading.
Image by Jason Gulledge