On Facebook there has been a raging debate between purist “free-speechers” and others who also believe in free-speech but wish to add a bit of nuance surrounding respect relating to core-identity issues of different peoples, cultures and ideologies.  The purist says that everything should be on the table when it comes to free speech even if it results in divisions, hatred and conflict – or, God forbid, a national security situation.  The nuanced thinkers assert that reality isn’t quite that simple.  The nuanced thinkers prefer slow-thinking over fast-thinking and analyze the world using a systems lens – acknowledging and well considering all sides of every issue – rarely coming to firm conclusions.  The nuanced thinkers are asking difficult questions that often engender harsh criticism from those who feel the answer is obvious and simple.  The purists feel they have the moral high-ground.  Nuance, on the other hand, requires courage.

The purist says that everything should be on the table when it comes to free speech even if it results in divisions, hatred and conflict – or, God forbid, a national security situation.

Purists often feel they are the enlightened elite, specially privileged in knowing right from wrong and lucky enough to have most things already figured out.  They get very angry when anyone questions or goes against what they believe to be true and ultimately morally correct.  Purists are the most politically correct.  The violent jihadi ideology itself represents a purist outlook – a Manichean black and white view of the world where nuance doesn’t and shouldn’t exist.  Purists are in a rush to get out of a state of cognitive dissonance – the very roots of awe described by mystics throughout history.

The nuanced thinkers are asking difficult questions that often engender harsh criticism from those who feel the answer is obvious and simple.  The purists feel they have the moral high-ground.  Nuance, on the other hand, requires courage.

We live in a globalized world now where all different types of peoples, ideologies, religions and cultures are forced to play in the same sandbox for the first time in human history.  We are used to playing in the sandbox with ourselves or at most, our neighbors – who are often times very similar to ourselves.  The kinds of jokes, beliefs and behaviors we agree upon amongst those of like-mind may be received quite differently by those from distant cultures and world-views.  In our new world, we have all become guests within this large sandbox that globalization and inter-connectivity has bestowed.  As guests, a new, higher level of respect is necessitated of all of us to urge forth the enlightened future our souls impel.  Without a doubt, this will be a painful and possibly multi-generational process of getting to know each other, but I truly believe humanity will emerge from it stronger, wiser and more compassionate.

In our new world, we have all become guests within this large sandbox that globalization and inter-connectivity has bestowed.  As guests, a new, higher level of respect is necessitated of all of us to urge forth the enlightened future our souls impel.

And yes, there is always a role for tasteful satire in every culture but it is usually bounded at its extremes by social norms if not occasionally by law.  Tasteful satire serves a positive role by pointing out absurdity in a way that allows people to realize their own absurdity and thus transcend it – encouraging positive human evolution.  Satire can be touchy and one must use its force wisely otherwise it can play a divisive role further separating people and increasing hatred and conflict in the world – which nobody wants.  Media must also understand its own power and accept responsibility for its own role in dividing or uniting people.  Its power is also nuanced and not as simple as just telling the unbiased truth.  Words have power and can create violence just as they can create peace.  Many make a valid point that the “other” shouldn’t be so upset by our words, but we must be realistic and pragmatic in our approach to living together peacefully in this global sandbox.  Understanding and growth takes time – we can’t wish away human tendencies that are real and often too visceral.  All sides must make the effort to imagine themselves in the shoes of the other, especially when it’s not a perfect fit.  We will only be wiser because of it.

Many make a valid point that the “other” shouldn’t be so upset by our words, but we must be realistic and pragmatic in our approach to living together peacefully in this global sandbox.

In this mammoth globalized sandbox we play in today, we cannot act like spoiled children who demand that everything must be their way without considering the feelings of others who now share space with us.  We cannot be arrogant in believing that we are specially privileged with knowledge and “civilization”.  As long as we have enemies we have lost potential friends and have lost real peace.