Posts Tagged ‘listen’

How understanding diversity can subdue conflicts


I come from a small village in Moldova. Growing up during the 1990s exposed me to a society that was forced to embrace a new way of living. Moldova was going through a transition period that sadly enough was being done without a strategy or a good leader. Consequently, many kids such as me felt indirectly encouraged to flee the country and look for a better life.

At the age of 15 I moved to Bucharest by myself. There are many reasons why I made this move, but one of them is that I wanted a new environment where I could escape the need to have a predetermined behaviour. As you might have guessed, a little village community is very judgemental, but efficient in imposing a conformity bias among its members.

Bucharest exposed me to new people, new dynamics and new opportunities. Even though I was still pretty much running through a certain embedded framework, I was absorbing the new as a sponge – clearly not knowing what I would do with it later in life.

Fast-forward 7 years and I was finding myself moving to Copenhagen. I didn’t know what to expect from this experience, but I think that in many ways this is the place where I polished who I am (with no doubt this is still work in progress). I met many great people who challenged me to go beyond my understandings of the world, to explore new perspectives and behaviours, and to be open to see and hear other people. Furthermore, they encouraged me to think of diversity in the large sense, and after some research and thinking, I realised that we need more of it if we want a society that lives in harmony.

The central tenets of my new-found “philosophy” can be summarized as follows:

  1. We have too many conflicts in this world mainly because we refuse to actively listen to one another before we bring to the surface our “I-know-better” attitude.
  2. We need to put ourselves more often in other people’s shoes.
  3. If we are listening to the others it doesn’t imply we are agreeing or accepting their message. However, we do open our minds to alternative reasoning.
  4. We need all the facets of human diversity to be accepted and supported. People need the freedom to be themselves as long as they do not invade other persons’ freedom.
  5. People have to learn they are governed by biases.

Each of us has a story to tell which is modelled based on our background and which implicitly imposes a certain view on life/world/good/bad/etc. This is simply the reality we are in. However, when we consider that our understanding of the world is above anyone else’s, this is an active choice we make. I do not think that we need to model our mind to fit others; however I do believe that we need to model our willingness to listen to one another, at least once!

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