Define “Enemy”

A large part of personal safety is going to be found in reducing conflict. Put simply, if you are a hothead, you are going to find a lot of conflict in your life. You might justify it. He made me mad is a sentence that has a lot of poorly examined ghosts in it. But how often do so many people justify bad behavior – behavior that they condemn in no uncertain terms when it is exhibited by other people?

There is a certain shortsightedness in chastising other people for doing something that we ourselves do as well. The answer that it is okay for us because we have a reason to do it falls flat when viewed rationally – if a behavior pattern is bad, our self-justifications (excuses) of why we do it mean nothing.

In order to engage in a behavior that you condemn in others, you are going to need to do a bit of self-hypnosis. You will claim that the action is bad, but that you have a reason for doing it.

For example, you might claim that all ideas, lifestyles and choices should be accepted.

It sounds very good! You may now congratulate yourself for being such a tolerant and caring person.

But what if someone disagrees with your position?

Now you have some thinking to do, unless you just want to go on a spree of hate fueled angry rhetoric.

Your original position that all ideas, lifestyles and choices should be accepted includes by default those ideas and lifestyles and choices that assert your original position is incorrect.

Of course, in our time, there seems to be no room for dissenting opinion.

We are taught from too many sources that those who disagree with us are our enemy.

But what, specifically, is an enemy?

An enemy is not someone who disagrees with you. An enemy is someone who hates you and wants you destroyed.

I have close friends, people I truly treasure, who could not be more different from me in thoughts on Politics, Religion, preferred martial arts or good cookery.

But they are not my enemy.

My idea of an enemy is pretty strict. If someone is attempting to cause direct harm to my family or myself, they are my enemy. If they disagree with my thoughts on anything at all, they are just people.

When someone disagrees with you, you have options. You could opt to hate them and use ridicule and name calling to make yourself feel superior. It does seem to be the standard response these days.

You could also use it as a chance to sharpen your ability to verbalize your position. Rational argument is a lot like sparring. It makes both people better, and can be tremendous fun.

So I would suggest allowing others to disagree with you. In truth, you cannot stop them, but if it makes you feel better, consider it allowing them. You do not need to accept their ideas as fact, but you do not need to view opposing ideas as a threat. There are real threats out there. Do not be blinded to the real threats because you were worried that someone thinks differently than you do.

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