Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Different =Wrong

In Korean the word  for 'different' and 'wrong' have a similarity that in speech fosters their incorrect use, says a professor of philosophy and ethics. In the diocesan bulletin he  writes about the differences and how it is an obstacle to communication. 

We use the word 'different' when we compare two or more subjects that  are not the same. An example would be the difference in the  appearance of this person and that person. On the other hand we use the word 'incorrect' when we want to express that something is wrong or contrary to what it should be. When these two words are not given their proper meaning we have the death of communication.

When I should say your opinion is different from mine and instead say you are wrong we have a fight.

Different = wrong was the thinking of the past when interchange with others was infrequent, travel  difficult and contact with other countries was rare. The Chinese idiom: 'Frog in the well' would be one way of describing the  person who  would not be able to grasp the difference between these two words.  People who have lived together for years in the same spot, the word different in accordance with their experience would be understood as incorrect. This would follow from being a racially homogeneous people. However, the professor reminds us that according to the study of genes, Korea is a composite of 60 percent  from the Northern  countries and 40 percent from the South. He regards the understanding of a homogeneous people as a myth.

Those who are similar to us are normal. The  different are abnormal and wrong: different=incorrect. This understanding has come to us from the past and we are influenced by it to this day. Blood, region, school ties all come to the fore when we have an election. Mixed blood, different races,  foreign workers, the handicapped, the weak, minorities-- realities we find difficult to accept into the nation-family. We are unyielding in this  exclusive, cliquish, and unhealthy behavior, a black and white logic which concludes the different, without discernment, to be wrong.

We want all to be the same, but we are different. There are seven billion people on the face of the earth: similar but different. Each one is an unique person.  That which is different in each one of us is what distinguishes us from the other. What makes us  different is not abnormal but normal but important as it is we do not want only to stress the difference because what is similar is greater. What makes us different  has to be in harmony and balance with what is the same. When this harmony and balance is broken or separated we all suffer. Same and different are the prerequisite for communication. In our relations rather than stressing the  different and wrong we should be more concerned with the different and the same.

There are positions that are objectively not correct and those that are correct, but when we communicate with others if we go directly to what is different and consider it wrong then the doors to  communication are closed. We are all searching for truth. Working with what is the same and what is different we keep the doors open and the possibility of agreeing in our search for truth. 

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