Agree to Disagree

(Read time: 3 minutes)

Society was built on a very finely tuned balance of agreements and disagreements. To say I agree is naturally the basis of a functioning society however to say I disagree expresses our individuality, defines our freedom of speech and gives hope to people around the world. But are we losing the ability to disagree and still move forward?

We live in a society riddled with disagreement and the more we attempt to educate ourselves, the more we feel the impacts of its polarising effects. Disagreement can be a great source of innovation, it can lead to productive discourse and progressive steps towards our own evolution. Whilst disagreement can often be productive it is nowadays becoming a source of misery. Nowadays it feels as though if someone doesn’t share the same views as us on a particular matter then we simply slap them down and move on.

Take the EU Referendum which took place in British politics during 2016, is there an argument to suggest remainers wrongly stereotyped leave voters? Take the Black Lives Matter protests, people question whether we should tear down a historic statue or let it be, and at the same time why would you bucket such an important movement into protests versus lootings? Take the pandemic, should face masks be mandated, should a vaccine become mandatory? Take JK Rowling, should she not be allowed to express her views on gender identity without experiencing death or rape threats?

There is an argument to suggest that the internet is the primary cause of this inability to disagree in a democratic and diplomatic way. Think about it, no matter how wide-ranging your belief about a particular point, the internet provides a platform where you can easily confirm your view and as a result, increase the effects of polarisation.

Have we lost the ability to take a step back, attempt to hear the other point of view, present our point of view and then agree to disagree without being callous? Surely, we should be able to acknowledge that each individual has their own individual range of experiences and is not just someone who has a differing opinion thus easily dismissible.  

Furthermore, have we considered that not having an open discourse with the counter-argument could temporarily lead to the suppression of a wide-spread albeit minority belief. Where over time that minority belief could silently become a majority belief where the previous majority belief becomes blindsided and disarrayed. As a result, magnifying the polarising consequence and arguably what led to the polarising 2016 EU Referendum and American Presidential Election.

Ironically, it seems as though our inability to disagree is putting us in lockdown just as the world escapes from it. We should all pause, recognise and advocate the benefits of agreeing to disagree. Thus, effectively communicating our disagreements, whilst recognising it’s importance for us to collectively move forward.

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