Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Conversation #3 ~ What do I believe about others? (pp. 74-81)

To illustrate this conversation starter from Meg Wheatley's Turning to One Another, I could see at least two possibilities:  men at war or ballroom dancing.  I chose to do both when I ran across this photo, which shows someone's hands in the foreground, apparently the hands of a prisoner.  Look closely at the hands — and make up a story about what you see.  Here's my made-up story:

"I see a wedding ring on the man's left hand.  Below him, there's a huge hole where others are also imprisoned.  When the man sits down with the others, he thinks of his wife and the times they danced together.  (This is a photo of Beth Kephart learning to dance.  I can't find it on her blog, but I saved it once upon a time.)  I can imagine this is the sort of thing the men were remembering as they 'taught each other ballroom dancing' (p. 78 in our book) in their prison cell."
What do you think Wheatley means when she asks us, "What do I believe about others?"


Bonnie Jacobs said...

I guess I could answer Wheatley's question "What do I believe about others" this way: I believe other people are a lot like me. I believe, if they were imprisoned, they'd remember the good times in their lives.

Shirley said...

I also believe that others are a lot like me. It is sometimes startling realizing that they aren't. My supervisor commented that I was out of touch as I thought all families were like ours and visited and got along with each other. He said that many families do not. After his comment, I was more open to the differences and sadly realized that his observation was quite true.

I found Wheatley's comments that we either retreat or grow closer together depending on what we believe about each other to be insightful as were her comments that oppression never occurs between equals and that tyranny starts with the belief that some people are more human than others. The latter reminds me of the Animal Farm commandment that all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

"It is in the nature of people to do good to one another."
— Marilynne Robinson, p. 33 in "When I Was A Child I Read Books"

I found that quote in a blog post, which (according to Mary on Facebook after I posted it) was written by one of her son's classmates. Interesting the connections we make, huh? Here's the link:

Shirley said...

The discussion of Romney's notorious "those people" sure does tie in with Wheatley's discussion.

The Fransiscan benediction was quite a call for action.

Zorro said...

The picture of the female soldier's hands are going down into the hole. She has left her equipment to the left of the hole. She has been chosen to go down to tell the prisoners in the cell to rejoice because the soldiers have come to set them free!

Shirley said...

I love the positive interpretation!

It reminds me of a story a friend shared several years ago after her son had taken some type of psychological test. The picture was of an old man and a violin. Her son said that the picture was of the man preparing the violin as he looked forward to teaching his grandson how to play.

Zorro said...

"What do I believe about others"

I think she means 'Do you believe you can trust others?' She then tells us "It is in the nature of people to do good to one another."

I am not sure that I trust others that I do not know, and I know I don't trust some people that I do know.

It seems to me that if it is in the nature of people to do good to one another, many have gotten away from their nature. I have not always felt this way, but recent times in the world at large seem to tell me this. We are taught now to always be on guard for evil around us. We are afraid for our children to even ride their bikes around our neighborhoods. We have to be searched at the airport. I think we can see that we do not live in a world where we expect people to do good to one another.

How can we trust each other?

Shirley said...

Concern for one's safety certainly does prevent one from being as open to trust and to help. A person has to find the appropriate balance between caution and trust. I do think though that most people are good. If people are treated though as they are not trusted and are feared, they generally respond to the lower expectations.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I have noticed that our "police" have been militarized and break into homes in full riot gear (helmets and assault weapons). If they treat citizens as "enemies" they must subdue, then they are "making" us fearful. Or maybe it's the media and its need to sensationalize as much as possible, that's making us afraid of each other.

Yet I agree with you, Shirley. I believe people are good — until they prove otherwise.

Shirley said...

Sadly, our city had a case a few years ago in which the militarized police in full gear pounded on the door in the middle of the night of a man who had "drugs" (he was a person whom there was no reason why they couldn't have shown up during waking hours at home or where he worked and arrested him). Hearing them break down his door, he fired a gun killing one of the cops. The cop was praised and continues to be honored as a "hero" and the victimized person was imprisoned. The war on drugs has turned our nation into a police state with our prisons full and drug usage continues.

AuntyDon said...

I see people as different from me. Those are the people who get me to think about things in a unusual, for me, way. I am blessed to meet so many people during my shifts at work, some who are like me and some who are different. I have to walk a thin line with those who are different in a political way because I don't want to lose my job, but some are from out-of-town or are are in the middle of a crisis and just need to vent. That's okay with me. I have put many people on my prayer list that I don't meet more than once.