Tolerance, as it is defined in the English language, is the ability to accept the differences and diversities of the human creatures with which we live. It has many different interpretations in the many languages of our diverse world.
So, I will address it in the context of the English language and hope it has some relevance to the other cultural interpretations as they may apply.
To begin, tolerance is a paradox. It is a virtue and a liability, a social idealism and an Achilles heel at the same time. Why? Because there are as many reasons and justifications for ‘tolerance’ as there are for the many paradigms of the human thought. ‘Tolerance’ can be a wonderful virtue in the effort of harmony and respect for others. It can also be a complex menagerie of indifference, fear, expediency, special interests or downright cowardice.
At what point does tolerance erode the most worthy principles that make us a worthy person in the world? This is the fine line we walk. You and I have experienced this idea of ‘tolerance’ for a long time and dealt with the intimidations that go along with it. What I mean by this is that whatever the deviances and destructive events, ideas and actions of others, we are expected to stand down and be ‘tolerant’. It is like termites on wood. It is not apparent, but over time we lose our wood. We can wake up one morning and realize our effort to not appear ‘intolerant’ has made us into shallow pulp, full of holes.
There comes a time when we realize our ‘tolerance’ has been nothing less than a sacrifice of the most simple principles of life and allowed the most destructive ones to prevail. To remain silent when an underlying evil whittles away at the very core of our Creator’s innate intentions is something all of us are guilty of during these times.
So, is there a time to be ‘intolerant of intolerance’? Is there a time to object to others forcing us, by intimidation, to accept and perpetuate what we innately know is the decadence of human civilization? The fear of alienating others from us by not drawing a line in the sand makes us a fraud, lying to ourselves and others.
I have been there for many years. Perhaps you have too. Even in this little website I have considered the opinions and issues of others to the point I lesson the values and principles within myself. And, as you may or may not have figured out, the ‘mentors’ have awaited the processing with me. To your own measure, that processing is happening within you. Can you tolerate my honesty? Be assured, I will not try to rub my personal principles in your face or expect you to follow the same path I do. My purpose is to address the real, everyday, interpersonal issues which we all live and experience. This, often, involves things we hesitate to think about. It is more comfortable to go along with what is trenzy and belong to the crowd.
With this in mind, there are all kinds of ‘crab buckets’. From ‘fashionable thinking’ to what makes us acceptable to associates, religions, spiritual groups, politics, and so forth, they can all be ‘crab buckets’. I became aware of the ‘crab bucket principle’ many years ago while fishing on the Gulf of Mexico. It seemed all I could catch was crabs. I had a five-gallon bucket with a screen on top. After a good number of crabs, I watched how they interacted. While an individual crab attempted to climb out of the bucket the other crabs would grab hold of it and pull it back down into the bucket. Too often, we, unwittingly, find ourselves in a ‘crab bucket’ in order to be ‘acceptable‘.
Alienation from those we hold most dear is a difficult action to take. However, when the final moments of this life come, what was the measure of our authenticity and spiritual integrity? Each of us must measure that for ourselves. Much of that measure is determined by our ability to know the difference between tolerance and the times to not tolerate.
Obviously, this can become a subject most lengthy and delicate for each of us. This commentary’s purpose is simply to make an issue of the issue of ‘tolerance’. For those who will ruthlessly ponder it, the rearrangement of our ‘judgmentalism’ versus the usefulness of tolerance can make us better warriors for the integrity, within ourselves, and for the fiber of humanity.
Clay (The Universal Infidel)