Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekend: Dealing with Controversy


This morning, I watched someone on one of my mailing lists apologize for being "controversial".

This got me to thinking.

I have an easy time listening to views that are different from my own. Maybe it's a result of having been significantly different in so many ways in the past. Granted, there are times when I want to be with like minded others and to have conversations that don't require explanation or debate. That's just natural.

But I don't understand anyone who can't deal with controversy or completely shies away from it under all circumstances.

The old admonition to never discuss politics or religion just means the conversation will be very boring.

I've watched people discuss absolutely nothing for hours and I have a hard time not interjecting something with a little bit of bite, just to stay awake. I can't stand small talk.

I like controversy. I like lively exchanges of ideas that expose me to different ideas and different ways of living.

How about you?

~*

24 comments:

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I also am drawn to controversy because it means that someone is actually thinking and not merely paroting the pre-chewed thoughts of others.

I was told most sternly as a child that I must never discuss politics, religion, money or sex and I asked my father, "What else is there?"

I still wonder. The rest is just filler.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm fine with controversy, and I've also often been in situations where I've been the cultural minority, so I'm used to keeping an open view and hearing a variety of viewpoints.

When I was younger I was less able to express myself in a less offensive manner, and have hopefully grown in that area.

I do know people who avoid controversy at all costs, however. I do think there are some cultural aspects to this, as well as just the personality of each individual.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Why do so many people deliberately make their lives boring? Fear, I guess, but I fear boredom more.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I don't like controversy for its own sake, but I totally don't understand the "Don't talk politics or religion" rule. How can we learn what opinions others hold if we won't discuss things in those two very important topics? To refuse to engage on those issues is tantamount to declaring that you know you're right and will never have to change your mind.

ThomasLB said...

The problem is most people don't want to discuss politics and religion, they want to preach- and all they want from their audience is nods of agreement.

Carol said...

What Thomas said... :-)

Defiantmuse said...

my problem is that, depending upon my mood, I don't do well with people who believe as passionately in their (opposite) beliefs as I do in mine. I tend to get way too worked up and have been known to get so frustrated I'm positive my blood pressure rises. Not that is causes me to shy away from such discussions, I just wish I were better able to reach a place where I didn't allow it to affect me physically.

Stephanie said...

Hi,

I wrote a post to answer your question. Just wanted to let you know.

Olivia said...

Hi, Chani,

I love controversy. I love talking about politics and religion.

Mostly because I enjoy hearing different sides of issues. However, I do have a preference for people who are discussing things to be respectful and kind, which they rarely are. If they are, though, it's so. much. fun. But if they aren't, it's still good.

Why not celebrate our differences and learn from each other? Otherwise life is boring, I agree.

I don't participate in small talk. If I get roped into a situation where it's going on, I try to get out. Or I may interject a question that diverts the conversation to something more meaningful.

Peace and rest tonight,

O

xxoo

flutter said...

I love discussion, I abhor being attacked.

Natasha said...

Hi Chani,
I don't love controversy for the sake of it, but I do do what I can to make sure that my beliefs, be they controversial or not, are heard and understood. We all have a right to stand and fight against the norms (Fountainhead) and I believe that people in the US are more aware of this right than many other cultures in the world. That's something to be proud about right?

I'd like to invite you to join us at www.womenetcetera.com, a website for women who believe in embracing transitions and change and making the most of our individualities and our lives. Do check us out!
Natasha

starrlife said...

I'm with you Chani, a spirited exchange suits me. I've been able to keep some blog friends despite our huge differences and that makes me happy.

Christy said...

LOL, I LOVE controversy....I just had a bad experience on my blog, though, of some frenemies calling me out on my personal views--i.e., I say I feel like a pacifist? And they'd say I was being too nice to myself, a poser, that I was a mean old bitch! LOL

So when *I* am the controversy? I'm not into it.

Ever have THAT happen?

jen said...

i like a good debate, a little rancor. i don't like ignorant hate being tossed about, because there is nowhere to go from there. but i appreciate a cross sharing - every time i'll learn something.

bangkok private detective said...

I think only people who are close-minded make a big deal about controversy. It’s always healthy to have good, and intelligent conversations and discussions about important issues. It helps our brains grow. After all, nobody can really force us to think in a certain way—it’s always our decision. But it never hurts to hear what other people say.

Carla said...

I agree...the world would be so boring if we all thought the same thing.

Peace said...

no one has all the answers and there is always more to learn :)

painted maypole said...

i like to talk with people with different viewpoints if there is tolerance there, and interest to hear other things and share a point of view. i don't much care for it when they want to judge you or belittle you for thinking differently. I've had conversations with people on both ends of the spectrum!

Molly said...

I've heard crazy advice given to people about to visit Ireland---"Just don't talk about politics, religion or sex, and you'll be fine!" Not to mention bored to death! All the liveliest discussions anywhere in the world seem to involve these topics!

Anvilcloud said...

The problem as I see it is that we can get too vested in views and conversations can become heated and that can lead to relationship problems. Besides, I don't think anyone has every changed their viewpoint by talking politics or what have you.

Border Explorer said...

I am not good at quick-witted responses, fast come-backs. However, I agree with your final paragraph completely.

niobe said...

I like hearing other people's viewpoints. I'm a lot less comfortable expressing my own, especially when it's clear that I don't agree with the other person.

afeatheradrift said...

Controversy is good, it means you care. Living by the adage that politics and religion are off limits has gotten us here. And that doesn't seem the best place most would agree. I think we desperately need to talk about these subjects, and fight and argue. We must stop seeing every other opinion as somehow evil.

womaninawindow said...

Bring it on sister! It's what I'm made of and saying this, I'm realizing how odd this is because I don't like confrontation. But I suppose controversy and confrontation aren't of the same element.

Controversy brings me to life. Confrontation shuts me down.