When you look at societies around the world, it is clear that tensions are rising everywhere. Whether it is between Right and Left, religious and secular, Conservatives and Progressives, Blacks and Whites, or locals and immigrants, the reasons are countless but the tension is the same: Two opposites that want to cancel one another.
It will not work. The contrasts will only grow, as will the tensions. All of reality is built on complementing contrasts that are interdependent. Take one away and you have canceled the other. Human society is no exception, except that we don’t recognize our interdependence and therefore do not want to complement each other. Instead, we want to cancel one another. We regard anyone who does not think or speak like us as backward and ignorant, hence the cancel culture.
But if two complementing contrasts are required for development, how can one party be right and the other one is wrong? If reality itself requires the presence of opposites, how can we want to cancel those we regard as opposite from us, when in truth, it is the existence of the opposite view from mine that justifies the existence of my own view? If, for example, there were no Conservatives, would there be Progressives? The whole concept of Progressivism exists because there is the concept of Conservatism.
Moreover, and this is the most important point: Neither side matters in and of itself. Only the tension between them matters! The frictions between opposing views makes people think, move, build, explore, challenge, or in short, live!
Therefore, we must feel our objection, our dismay at the opinion of our opposers. At the same time, we must not cancel them; we must acknowledge that they are the reason that we feel so strongly about the subject. Their zeal about their views excites our own, and together, we keep each other growing.
The contrasts in society are its source of energy; we must harness them to build a better, stronger, and healthier society. We must not, and cannot agree, but rather complement each other. Once we do this, all of us will benefit from the power of society, the power of complementing contrasts.
[Community members gather for a vigil to mourn and confront the rising violence against Asian Americans Wednesday, March 17, 2021]