Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why is our tolerance waning?

Compared to the previous century, in which I grew up, I notice that our intolerance towards ‘others’ is (still) increasing. Our intolerance relates to (the freedom of) (i) speech, (ii) worship (ie, religion), (iii) sexuality (eg, LGBT, non-binary) and (iv) making own choices (eg, unvaccinated). Why??

The common denominator above is identity. We dislike others being, doing and saying whatever they want and whenever. If we could know their intentions then we would dislike those too. We do like who we are, and what we say and think. Also see my blogs on Deeds-Words-Intentions and Wiki’s Us vs Them.

“In sociology and social psychology, an in-group is a social group to which a person psychologically identifies as being a member. By contrast, an out-group is a social group with which an individual does not identify. People may for example identify with their peer groupfamilycommunity, sports team, political party, gender, race, religion, or nation. It has been found that the psychological membership of social groups and categories is associated with a wide variety of phenomena.” (Wikipedia)

The answer is hidden above: a focus on identity is a focus on our self and not on the group that we are/were in. Essentially, we dislike that others opt-out of our group. Or, in the words of others:

  • “If you’re not my friend, then you’re my enemy, and if you’re not my enemy then I don’t know you.” source
  • Anakin Skywalker: If you’re not with me then you’re my enemy! Obi-Wan: Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

This poses a new question: why are we leaving (the comfort and safety of) groups and pursuing (the vulnerability of) our own identity?

The answer might be less complex and more simple than I had assumed: we have enough money and time to be able to afford the choice to pursue our own identity (eg, in the West). In that case, there’s a distinct relation with my concept of Needs, Wants & Beliefs. Our wealth defines the category we are in.

Interestingly, there’s a rather derogatory term that basically confirms the above: F*** You Money.

A quote from The Game of Life and How To Play It – in 1925 – by Florence Scovel Shinn (1871-1940) also confirms the above and makes me realise that this topic was already in the making for at least a century:

“The perfect plan includes health, wealth, love and perfect self-expression. This is the square of life, which brings perfect happiness.” (source)

Hence, it’s more likely that liberalism recognised this trend in society and jumped on the bandwagon rather than that liberalism is accountable and/or responsible (my blogs) for the above. Cause and effect (my blogs) are not always clear.

Last but not least, is a society without tolerance sustainable? To be continued.

Me Myself I (1980) by Joan Armatrading
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

Post Scriptum: Actually, I had forgotten about Karl Popper‘s Paradox of tolerance and my related 2019 blog: The Paradox of Tolerance.


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