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  • Writer's pictureRonald Fahrenholz

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Updated: Sep 26, 2018

Let us imagine we are at a baseball game. No one ever gets out of control there, correct? Why do suppose the fans like to attack the first base coach and umpires? Instead of enjoying the game as entertainment; we argue and fight with opposing fans. What are the fundamental attribution errors we tend to make?

First, it is a baseball game. As in most sporting events, there is likely to be already intense arousal and opportunity for the fans to lose self-awareness as they become intensely focused on the game. The fans could identify themselves as part of the team and part of the action and becoming no longer just a spectator. What about other contributing factors that might promote the aggressive behavior? In addition to losing self-awareness, there may have been a sense of diffused responsibility and lack of concern about how others would evaluate their behavior.

Have you ever observed a situation that someone might not agree with your views or your provide a similar assessment of the situation that both observed? Sure you have! We all have. The movie 12 Angry Men is a prime example of how individual prejudices can influence how we see things. Sometimes we get attacked when our views are different. The fundamental error we tend to make is attributing the attacks of those that oppose our view by classify them as idiots or racist and thus we unjustly tend to assume a person’s action depends on the “kind” of person they are rather than the social environment influencing the behavior.

Secondly, let us look at some of the recent protests that resulted in riots. Like a baseball spectator, (during a game) the more participates in sharing anger, the more likely a protest will escalate into violence. Often one person or a small group can boost an entire crowd to act out. “Burn it down!" they might say. Then, even if we intended on having a peaceful protest, we can get "sucked in," perhaps by our Adrenalin; and, right or wrong, we find ourselves participating. This condition might also have a higher likelihood to occur when we can blend in and we not be identified; therefore accepting no responsibility for our actions.

We don’t like it when someone opposes our views, so we attack peoples attributes without any chance for any peaceful resolution. If you are not like me, then you are not with me- if your or not with me then you must be against me if you are against me then you must be my enemy. Wow! That breaks my heart, and in total contradiction of the commandment, Jesus made for us to love our neighbor more than we love ourselves. Jesus reminds us that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Can you see how hard Satan is working to turn us against each other?

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. - James 1 19-20

There are always two sides to a story. However, we are extremely reluctant to listen to opposing views. This may be why when Obama was President; we wanted to impeach. Now, Trump is President; we want to impeach. Both of these Presidents had very different views, and yet both were considered incompetent, irresponsible; promoting their agendas; engaged in illegal practices; and many other claims that we made to try to influence others not to trust the one we did not support. We support one President and hate the other. Some we even made the claim of racism- which is always the most obvious difference and easiest to pull out of a deck of cards.

Finally, we must consider the fact that fans or protesters could have been intoxicated or other drugs as many fans are while watching ball games or when protesters are participating in large-scale demonstrations. In this digital age, people also want exposure so they can post on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites. The one thing we can honestly say is that bigger the disagreement (opposing views/anger) and the larger the crowd can create the perfect storm priming any situation to escalate to full-blown a riot.

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Ronald A Fahrenholz

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