Where does civility matter most during the increasingly polarized time we are all living in?
A friend recently invited me to a talk on Civility by the Masons at a local lodge. The speaker, Russ Charvonia, asked the audience to consider the difference between debate and discourse.
To summarize a rather lengthy exploration, in debate somebody always loses, and in discourse everyone wins. To illustrate how civil discourse can take place in any gathering, Russ invited 5 masonic volunteers to come up and model civil discourse by embodying a continuum of certainty on a controversial topic within the masons - gay membership.
The volunteer masons endorsed varying levels of certainty in their beliefs of whether or not their masonic lodge should get involved with other lodges who exclude members that identify as gay. It was an interesting and somewhat uncomfortable example of the in-the-room awkwardness to engaging in a conversation where there will be no easy solution. Check out their website if you are curious about bringing this intervention to your community.
How do you create a civil atmosphere in your life?
About the Author
Ruth Diaz, LPC, Psy.D. is a counselor, consultant, and coach on returning to compassionate connection in relationship with ourselves and each other at every level. She works as an organizational consultant and therapist in Portland, Oregon.