Step 7: We Need to Deal With Our Ideological Differences

We’ve shattered what should be one common project of figuring stuff out into a million specialized pieces, and pitted them all against each other.

This is maybe going to be the most controversial step out of all of them.

We have these liberal versus conservative, science versus religion, and all these other apparently irreconcilable differences between our different systems of ideas, beliefs, and values.

But they are reconcilable.

You know they are. Because you don’t just subscribe entirely to one ideology. You borrow bits and pieces from all the sciences, philosophies, political ideologies, and religions you’re exposed to. And you stitch them together into your own personal views.

You do that because you know, that even though all those systems like to present themselves as the whole truth and nothing but the truth, none of them can really do the job all by themselves. They’re just a piece of the bigger puzzle.

We have a deep, deep misunderstanding today of how truth works, and how knowledge works.

We’ve shattered what should be one common project of figuring stuff out into a million specialized pieces, and pitted them all against each other.

One of the biggest obstacles—perhaps the biggest obstacle—to solving our problems is the way we frame them as being about a clash between fundamentally different beliefs, or different values.

But our problems aren’t happening in our heads. They’re happening in our actions. They’re happening in our institutions.

Ideas are supposed to be a means to the end of fixing those problems. But we’ve turned them into the end themselves. And so we just go round and round in circles, arguing about whose beliefs are right, while people continue to suffer.

Look, I’m not saying it’s wrong to have your beliefs. And I’m not saying that there aren’t some really repellant beliefs out there. But don’t miss the forest for the trees.

What we all want is to live in a world with the maximum amount of health, happiness, peace, prosperity, love, peace, joy, and all that good stuff.

Ideas, beliefs, and values can help us get there. But they’re a means to an end.

If we deal with them that way, we can work through our differences. We can work together toward the kind of world we all want to live in.

I’m not going to tell you to give up your beliefs in this series. You should believe whatever you think is right and good.

But I am going to encourage you to question what it means to believe in something.

I’m going to ask you to consider if the way we believe in ideas and values today is part of the problem.

I’m going to challenge you to figure out how to keep your beliefs without using them as an excuse to put down or refuse to work with other people toward the better world we all want to live in.


This is the 8th in a series of over 150 videos about how to create real, lasting social change. Click here for a list of all titles, videos, and transcripts.

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