Intolerance isn’t always a bad thing

June 18, 2014

Peace infinitySomething’s been shifting in me for a while and it has to do with my tolerance for violence, real or implied. I have no tolerance for it any more.




When I encounter it, my heart finds it so unbearable that it cringes. It draws back.

I want to cover my ears. Close my eyes. Click off.

Lotus flower floatsEvery day we encounter small and large acts of violence that we take for granted.  That feeling of irritation or even rage when someone cuts us off on the road. Those rants when someone does something dumb or hurtful. The way we slash the earth by clear cutting forests. The manner in which we treat our environment.  Cruelty to animals. Violent games and movies.  All part of our lives.

Start noticing the brutal ways we speak. Write. And think.

peace_starI follow a website that has a violent name. I like the writer but I wince every time I see the name of the website. Which is very popular. Very. But now, my tolerance level for even words that assault us is….well, I have none. No tolerance at all.

Look around. It can be a brutal world. It is definitely a violent one.

We think we’re powerless to change it, but actually we’re not. We could replace savage acts and brutal words with kindness and compassion. If we wished.

“A human being is part of the whole we call the universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest–a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This illusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires to affection for only the few people nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison, by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living beings and all of nature.” ~Albert Einstein

We don’t normally think of Albert Einstein as a purveyor of love and compassion or a New Age thinker. But he was a brilliant man whose thoughts ranged further than science and math. He, too, knew that love and compassion are powerful and that  if individuals expanded their span of compassion the world would change.

Works of loveEinstein knew that all works of love are works of peace. That change happens one person at a time.

So, what if we all became intolerant of violence?

If we stopped using violent and combative words and themes? What if we stopped going to those movies? Or buying–or even making –those video games?

What if we made an effort to add more compassion and service to our daily lives? What if we reached out to the world and embraced it, starting with our own sphere of influence?

One person at a time, one tiny step at a time we can change our own lives and together, shift the world.  Remember that old slogan, think globally, act locally?   That’s where it begins. At the individual level.

What if we did?

The possibilities are …awe-inspiring.

Can't live in PEACE

25 comments on “Intolerance isn’t always a bad thing
  1. I chose to distance myself from anything negative. People included. People in the family even. Because I’m 57 and I have the right to be intolerant of anything I consider negative. xo

  2. Lance says:

    If this were a perfect world, and people has evolved from poor thinking and awful treatment of others, then tolerance would be an unnecessary word. But when you have to tell some people that firing or discriminating or hurting others because of who and what they are, then you must apply the word tolerance.

    It’s weird, I don’t disagree with a word you wrote, but I know that words matter overall.

    • What I don’t like about “tolerance” is the “grit your teeth and bear it” definition. In the common usages, I prefer “acceptance”. But I like being intolerant of violence. And am.

  3. I have started stepping forward to in small ways. Turning off the TV when violence is gratuitous and without purpose. Telling someone in my group that she cannot any longer ask us to comment on novels involving Domination and S&M. You have to stand for something, sometime.

  4. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I agree with you 100%. I abhor violence in all forms (I’ve never been able to watch violent movies, ever). But the jaded part of me thinks that violence is so embedded in our society that it will be hard to change. Just look at the guns issue. We can’t pass a frigging law to require background checks. The violence continues, the murders continue, and we become, sadly, complacent.

    • I have to believe that change happens one person at a time and maybe takes longer than we’d like, but I have to believe it can be done. Frustrating, isn’t it?

  5. Ruth Curran says:

    We do make choices every day about not just what we choose to see and experience and what we filter out, but also how we do that. Do we base that on judgment or intuition or tangibles or whatever? Those are choices too. I agree that filtering out the violent and the negative is worthwhile. Sometimes I worry about missing something truly beautiful within… Never ending conversation, right? Beautifully articulated piece Carol!

  6. It is a very violent world that we live in and you are so right, if we take a certain responsibility and refuse to engage with violence would it disappear? If we truly as a group refused to buy it, watch it, play it or sell it wouldn’t it be a truly wonderful place to live.

  7. Haralee says:

    Words are powerful and just changing our use of violent words is a good step.

  8. Loved this Carol and your site is so beautiful and welcoming. Will be back!

  9. Karen says:

    Oh, how I hear you–there’s quite enough violence in the world without us contributing to it, even if it’s meant in jest.

  10. I’m finding I feel the same, Carol. Violence, in words or in deed, creep under the skin. At first, it’s easy to overlook the rash left behind by contact. However, as I’ve aged, I’ve found I’m moving towards zero tolerance. I think aging has brought me a greater tolerance of differences and a greater intolerance for anything not clothed in compassion and love.

  11. For some reason as I read this, the words to Yusef Islam aka Cat Stevens’ Wild World “Oh, baby, baby it’s a wild world – You know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do – And it’s breaking my heart in two.” As a child in my teen years I did not appreciate what he was seeing in his mind when he wrote the lyrics to this song. Age brings us understanding and caution… about what we allow into our lives.

  12. Totally agree. I can’t – and won’t – watch any violence any more, whether on the news or in the movies. How can we tolerate the excessive number of gun deaths?

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