Sounds so simple, doesn't it? But his question is very valid. I would venture to ask - "why can't society get along?". Humanity has been around for so many years, haven't you wondered why with all the progress that has been achieved, especially with technology, why it is that violence continues in the world? Is it so difficult to get together and chat about our differences?
Are our likes and dislikes so important that if you disagree with what I say you are wrong? This doesn't make sense to me. So then, why can't we get along?
I would venture to say it is fear. Ever hear the phrase "Fear is the root of all evil"? Fear comes about from not knowing the outcome. If I hear something that is different to what I believe, there is a gut feeling which comes from the pit of my stomach which asks the question, am I wrong? This fear is rooted in our pride. Our pride is one of the three elements that make up concupiscence; pride, sin of the eye, sin of the flesh.
Now, wouldn't you think that faced with the potential of being wrong - I would want to improve and become better? Human psyche doesn't seem to work that way. Here is another known phrase "we are a creature of habit" We like knowing what to do, what to feel, how to react; believe it or not we like rituals. If we are confronted with something that will make us have to change, we don't like it. The gut reaction opposes whatever has been put in front of us.
Are you the sum of your thoughts or are you more than what you could ever imagine? Based on which you believe will make a big difference on how you react to unknowns or confrontations. If you believe that you are your thoughts, then you can't handle something that is different to your thoughts. If you believe you are more than you could image, then life is a wonderful adventure to explore and grow and become something more.
So then, how can people get along? I would venture to say that it isn't an easy task to undertake. It requires much patience, understanding and love. Only when we work from love can we break the cycle of fear. There are people who feel that their position is correct. I would pose to them to share the knowledge in a non-violent, loving way. To love the good of the other for the other's sake. Not because I will gain something, but because the other person will grow to be more than what they currently are. True love. When people start dialogues from this position so much can be understood.
As when we learned math, we didn't start with calculus but with numbers, then we progressed to addition, multiplication, division, etc. When we got to algebra our minds started to reel and we could barely fathom geometry and calculus. Well, all of life's learning is the same way. Those who know calculus can't talk to those who are just learning their numbers with calculus terms. They have to remember where they came from and start building up the knowledge base and understanding of the other. This isn't done in a "talking down" fashion. Each level of understanding has just as much relevance as any other level. Great thoughts can be understood throughout life...not just when one thinks life is understood.
So, when we share, we must understand what level the person or audience currently stands and convey your terms and thoughts at that level. It is the onus of the learned to extend themselves. When this dialogue begins it can then mature and develop to deeper and more complex understandings.
Can this happen in today's world? Yes, I believe it can. We must pray that the Holy Spirit is with us because it isn't easy. We must pray that the self be not afraid...that is not only the other person's self, but our self as well. We are all afraid, we are all searching, we all want to know. Just because we might have a deeper understanding of a particular idea doesn't mean that we are immune to the gut feeling of fear and allow ourselves to react based on fear. Fear and self left on their own destroys - it can destroy a person, a community, a society. Just look at our history in the 20th Century; the bloodiest.
Something else we have to remember is that no one knows it all. There might be someone who poses a question which forces us to reevaluate our values, thoughts, ideas. This isn't a bad thing. We have to remember that we are on this earth to learn, especially from one another.
Our growth begins when we realize that everyone was created by God, in the image of God. We must strive to see God in every person we meet and treat them with the respect they deserve. Can we look at someone who is homeless and see God? What about a drug addict or an alcoholic or that person that just pissed us off? Can we look at them, extend our hand, give them a caring smile and care for them? Do we strive to become the good Samaritan? The world challenges us; our values and our thinking. Rightly so. We all need to overcome the fear in us, but we can't do it alone. We have to reach out to God and to one another.
We need to be secure in our self and not be afraid of the unknown. Remember, you are in the playground of life...one day, we'll see eternity and understand the big "why" of life and no longer have fear be the driving factor of our actions. In the meantime, let's care for the other person, treat them with love and share our understanding of life and allow ourselves to be amazed at how our knowledge grows exponentially (that is....greater than the sum of our individual knowledge).