Tuesday, August 01, 2006

To Demonise and To Humanise

How easy it is for us to demonise one another! For one, it is an extremely easy way to dismiss any and all arguments - "He is a Fundamentalist / Greenpeace Activist / PAP Minister / Communist / Atheist / Muslim / Human Rights Demonstrator / Gay / American , and hence his views should be dismissed."

You would believe that your opponent is someone unreasonable, or that he has ulterior motives. You would believe that against such an opponent, no peaceful recourse is possible, or that in fact they are deserving of such extreme measures. In essense, you are human, and they are not.

And they would probably think the same of you.

If we can demonise, surely, we can humanise. To humanise is to believe that our opponent is as much a human being as ourselves. Once we realise that fundamentally we are all human, we can take a step forward and begin to understand, rather than caricature, each other. This would lead to way to reconcilation rather than factionalization.

In short, believe the best in people.

Of course, this is no simple feat. We would need every bit of reason, of personal strength, and of faith in humanity, to overcome our inherent human baseness.


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