Friday, December 14, 2012

Up for the challenge?

Someone recently referred to me as "dogmatic".  And since we weren't having the friendliest conversation, I have to assume he wasn't thinking of me with admiration.  If he meant that I was acting based on rigid principles, I am guilty as charged.


Because I live based on certain principles, despite existing in a world that is relativist by nature, and surrounded by lots of folks who've been too browbeaten to think they deserve to have unchallengable assumptions, I probably seem a bit hard headed.  That's true, too.

We all have our rough edges, I guess.

The conversation that ignited this insignificant but briefly fiery exchange stemmed from my suggestion that he support the store through shopping here for groceries.

Really. That was all.

I didn't demand to see his Democratic Party card; didn't expect that he would want to join our ongoing conversations about localism and sustainability.  Didn't make fun of what he drives, or how far every week. (I do that sometimes; I'm sorry.) Just suggested that his family grocery needs could be met by the closest local store.

It occurred to me that I am probably dogmatic in other ways, too.

I have a few principles about the nature of our economy, namely the parts of it that are unsustainable, that I probably share those forcefully.  And I usually act as though they are un-challenge-able.  So it goes with some things.

But, come on, folks - do I really need to say this - we're all friends, right?

You must challenge me anyway.  Really.  We can't do better - I can't be better - unless you decide I am sometimes completely nuts and speak up.  Maybe it's the whole issue of selling organics - maybe you hate the fact that I sell tobacco.  (I hate it, too.)  Maybe you think we should sell more local products.  (I do, too.)  I know there's probably a long list.  (Charlie Steele might actually post his grievances, starting with my foolish recitations about the science of climate change!)

We are the ones who are making discourse possible.  So don't just unsubscribe, metaphorically or literally, if you don't like what I have to say.  Call me on it - I love to talk.  It's up to us to reinvigorate the sorts of discourse that used to take place in community.

Because, as we say at the front tables all the time, we might even save the world.

1 comment:

  1. IMO, questions are always a good thing. Questions lead to a, hopefully, healthy discourse making one define why they believe something. Just saying such and such is not good enough. You can not expect anyone else to listen to your viewpoint unless you can logically state why your viewpoint is valid. Questions lead to a discourse that, again hopefully, allow you to learn why the other persons believes what they believe. And, if they know their beliefs well enough and can prove why their way of thinking is better, than you can learn from them, helping you to grow; and vice versa. Questions are just another way of challenging your way of thinking and that is always a good thing. Complacency leads to stagnation and, eventually, decay.

    April - This is the first time I've checked out your blog. Consider me a new blog follower. I love a good discussion, regardless of the topic!