We’re living through such tense times that it seems as though we’re sitting on a bomb about to go off. We’re arguing over Covid, politics, race, and gender. It seems like there is nothing we can agree on. Worse yet, it seems like we simply cannot agree. But there is a solution: We leave the hatred alone and raise ourselves above it. There, in that higher level, we will find unity and peace.
The idea is not new. The first to articulate it was King Solomon, who wrote “Hate stirs strife, and love covers all crimes” (Proverbs 10:12). Because each of us has a unique character and nature, we have every right to think differently from others. However, atop all the different views, there must be love that covers everyone like a blanket that warms all of us together.
We have disputes with everyone. We argue with our spouses and partners, we argue with our kids, we argue with our peers and coworkers, and sometimes we argue with the waiter. But when there is love, we don’t hate our disputers, we simply disagree with them.
The point is not to focus on the disagreements, but on how we feel toward others and to try to see how we can come to care about them. If we do, our different views will generate greater wisdom and understanding for all of us.
Progress comes not when there is similarity of opinions. It comes when there are differing views among close people. In that state, they can benefit from the different angles and develop a more complete perspective and deeper understanding of whatever it is they are doing.
In a sense, we need to become multilayered: At the bottom there is disagreement, and on top of it, care. Then, on top of the care, a new disagreement surfaces, and on top of that we build another layer of care and concern.
Those who have been with the same partner for a long time know what it’s like. You have fought and made up so many times that nothing will break your bond; it is just too strong. And why is it so strong? It is made of countless layers of arguments and love that has been built atop it. Each time, the argument was more intense, and so the love that was built above it was equally powerful. In the end, it becomes such love that will not be defeated by hate.
This is what we need to build among everyone, all of society. It will not happen in a day, but there is no escape from it because otherwise, our society will disintegrate with horrifying consequences. Therefore, the sooner we begin, the better. And the best way to start is by setting an example.
So, can we rise above ourselves? I don’t know yet, but I know we have to try.