The importance of being understanding

One of the best quotes I’ve heard was quoted by Professor Michael Olmert in his Intro to the Novel class: “To understand all is to forgive all.” Of course, the actual origins of this idiom are muddled. Internet research have pinpointed it to an old French proverb or from Siddharta himself. Either way, it’s a powerful quote.

On our quest to seek what life has to offer, if you have any sort of moral compass, that quote is great to live by.

To add to this axiom is the idea that fear and then hatred stems from not understanding the other. That is, when someone says, “I hate [insert racist/sexist/whatever-ist slur here]”, consider their position and, if you can, find out why they feel that way. As much as “love” is such a perplexing word, “hate” is almost as perplexing, yet, oddly enough, easier to understand. I say it’s easier to understand because to hate is a less pressing issue to justify than love. I know that I am being somewhat reductive, I mean look at Hitler. That guy was the hater of the haters. Maybe if the guy spent as much money on therapy than he did on his baller military then we would have avoided that whole ordeal. (On a personal note, I don’t mean to trivialize history.)

Be careful, however, of being understanding. Understanding brings together both thinking and feeling. Understanding all will hinder your ability to actually go out and do something. This is the Catch-22 of being educated. Unfortunately those who have this quality are too bogged down with the grandness and shame of it all to act. This is why all the great thinkers and writers off themselves. It’s too much. As if it’s too hard to forget, here are the words of Horace Walpole: “Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy for those who think.”

As you’ve just read, the importance of being understanding is paradoxical. My only advice? Balance it out. Of course it is an ideal, and maybe I am being too idealistic. But aren’t we all striving for that same ideal?

I apologize for the srsness I’ve been writing on for so long now. I promise plenty pictures of dogs with computers in the future.


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