SNS Press: Seeking New Solutions
Home Page About SNS Press Author Richard Sidy Contact Us Buy Publications


A hopeful approach for the future of international relations.

Redirect teen rebellion towards idealism and self improvement.

Read excerpts from unpublished book: Science, Religion and the Search for God —Bridging the Gap.

Poems of society, the human condition, and spiritual discovery.

Our student activities and curriculum materials instill an environmental, cultural, and global perspective, and integrate various academic disciplines.

archives archives archives
Archives 2002:
Vol. 1, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Hope for the Future
Six Part Series on Science and Religion
First Three Parts of the Series on Leadership
Archives 2003:
Vol. 2, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Series on Leadership continued
Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society

Art and Politics
Living the Good Life
Teaching Teens
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Archives 2004:
Vol. 3, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Seven Part Series on Global Consciousness
Is "Liberal" a Dirty Word?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All

Archives 2005:
Vol. 4, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Standing up for Humanity
Unity in Diversity

Thought and Imagination
Imagination and Healing
Lessons of Katrina
Intelligent Design or Evolution

Archives 2006:
Vol. 5, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-Violent Political Change
Sustainable Development
Legalizing Torture
Living Without an Enemy
"Fast Food" is really "Slow Food"


Featured Articles about Responsibility, the Future and Consciousness:

Hope for the Future
Series on Leadership
Series on Global Consciousness
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Conflict, Harmony and Integrity
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-violent Political Change
Living Without an Enemy
Protecting Children: Words and Deeds




December, 2007
Vol. 6, Number

This Month's Article

Is it Enough to be Tolerant?

Tolerance is not the opposite of prejudice, racism and bigotry. The twenty-three million people of the former Yugoslavia, comprising more than fifteen ethnic groups tolerated each other and even called each other “comrade” for decades. Their capital, Sarajevo, was famous as a cosmopolitan, tolerant, ethnically mixed city. When communism was overthrown in 1991, the country fell apart and became a hell of horrendous human barbarism, rape and ethnic cleansing.  Tolerance had not erased the festering animosity bred of religious, cultural and historical differences.

What can a society do to become truly united in its diversity? Tolerance is preferable to the aggressiveness of active hatred, but is no guarantee that people develop a real, and positive appreciation of a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-religious community. Tolerance is a passive acceptance of what is different and what one cannot change. It can be a type of resignation.

Humanity now needs to prepare for the next psychological step. That would be measuring all attitudes, policies and actions with the scale of fellowship. At the low end of this scale is cooperation and collaboration; at the high end is sacrificing oneself for another. This psychology is based on the consciousness of interdependence, shared humanity, and concern for the common good. This consciousness has to be developed so that humanity may solve its common challenges for survival and happiness.

Currently, our potential for fellowship is hidden behind walls of fear, frustration and arrogance. When people have the means to tell their stories and when other people make a point to listen, then understanding, compassion and forgiveness of past injustice may result. In a relationship it is legitimate for people to express their anger and hurt for past injustice. That is a first step in the healing process. After anger is expressed and understood, people have a basis for communication and ultimately for trust, respect and equality in relationship. When people are unable to express their true feelings and when no one is listening, then it builds until it is expressed explosively and destructively.

Anger or fear that erupts into violence against others needs to be addressed in any relationship. When ethnic, racial, religious or philosophical differences are used to create destructive alliances of hate, these are symptomatic of real psychological, and material needs not being met. Every person and every group wants and needs to be recognized, accepted and ultimately understood — not just tolerated.

Beyond tolerance has to be a strategy for inclusiveness and communication. Starting from the most basic relationship, for example a friendship or a family, a foundation of honesty, trust, and openness has to be developed. When the individuals of a society feel accepted and heard, and full participants, then the society as a whole will be more unified, secure, and prosperous. Such a society would be characterized by cooperation rather than by competition. Social diseases such as exploitation and culture wars would be reduced and finally non-existent. They would be replaced by a dynamic and diverse culture.

In a society that is united by a sense of common purpose and a sense that everyone is important to the success of that purpose, differences and diversity are not only tolerated, but also cultivated as the source of creativity, creative problem solving, and full participation. This is the team spirit that successful coaches develop in their athletes. Any successful business encourages discussion, teamwork and sharing diverse points of view and various skills. Societies need to build their citizens as teams and businesses build their employees. Leadership in this context would be looking out for the welfare and happiness of employees, empowering them and respecting their individuality. This would then result in loyalty and commitment to the group purpose, evoking their independence and ingenuity.

Humanity as a group also has a common purpose, but has many obstacles to overcome before it feels like we are all on the same team. We need to not just tolerate each other, but we need to actively share our goals and abilities. When everyone is able to contribute to the best of their abilities to solve problems of their communities, then the world will be closer to solving global problems. Historical debts need to be forgiven as well as paid. Human rights need to be upheld by all societies. Finally, each culture needs to have the ability to contribute their unique wisdom to the resolution of our social and environmental problems. Tolerance is not enough; we need strategies to include all people as equal and contributing global citizens. This would be a valid purpose for all nations and a peaceful replacement for philosophical, religious, and political dogmas.

© 2007 Richard V. Sidy

Read Related Articles

Unity in Diversity

Series on Leadership

Series on Global Consciousness

World Peace in Less Than a Month?

Living Without an Enemy

I Know I'm Not Alone — The Wisdom of Michael Franti

Making Friends — A Poem


You may email this article by using the link below: 


Contact us with your comments about this topic

Archives 2005
Volumn 4
January: "Standing up for Humanity"
February: "The Wake of Disaster" – a poem
March: "Unity in Diversity
April: "Life is Calling"
May: "Entertainment" – a poem
June: "Thought and Imagination" part 1
July: "Thought and Imagination" part 2
August: "Imagination and Healing"
September: "Malice or Neglect? – Lessons of Katrina"
October: "Protecting Children"
November: "Intelligent Design or Evolution?"
December: "Building with one hand, destroying with the other"
Archives 2006
Volumn 5

January: "Conflict, Harmony, and Integrity"
February: "Satyagraha or Soul-force and Political Change"
March: "I Know I'm Not Alone - Wisdom of Michael Franti"
April: "Human Programming and Conflict Part I"
May: "Human Programming and Conflict Part II"
June: "Soccer Diplomacy"
July: "Sustainable Development is Nature's Way
August: "Parallel Universes"
September: "The News is not New"
October: "Legalizing Torture"
November: "Living Without an Enemy"
December: "Fast Food is really Slow Food"

Archives 2007
Volumn 6

January: "State of Fear"
February: Criminal Justice - "The Powerful Over the Weak"
March: "Culture Shock: The Good Life and Survival"
April: "March Madness"
May: "No Child Left Behind" Leaves Many Teachers Behind
June: "Personal Ecology"
July: Criminal Justice - "The Ethic of Custodianship"
August: "Exploring the Mind - part 1"
September: "Exploring the Mind - part 2: The Poetic Mind
October: "How Much Pain Can We Stand?"
November: "When Languages Disappear"
December: "Is it Enough to be Tolerant?"

Archives 2008
Volumn 7

January: "Beyond Ideology: Politics of the Future "
February: "Beyond the Bush Years"
March: "The Imaginary Economy - Part I
April: "The Imaginary Economy - Part II
May: Questions from Prison
June: "iGods and Connectivity"
July: "Energy Independence"
August: "Tribalism and the 2008 Elections
September: "Guilt, Shame and U.S. Justice"
October: "Have We Been Willing Slaves?"
November: "Are We Ready for the Future?"
December: "Are we done learning from pain?"

Archives 2009
Volumn 8

January: "Awakening"
February: "When Sacrifice is no Sacrifice"
March: "The Good New Days"
April: "The Power of Metaphor"
May: "The Conflict of Mythologies"
June: "The Time is Right"
July: "The New Anarchy"
August: "The Art of Living"
September: "Outrage"
October: "Are Women Becoming More Unhappy?

November: "Effect of the manufacturing culture on the American Psyche"
December: Who are the Real Game Changers?

Archives 2010
Volumn 9

January: The Music of Place
February: Earthquakes and Other Awakenings
March: Sense of Place, Sense of Self, Sense of Humanity
April: Why Do People Serve?
May: Decentralizing Food and Energy
June: Beyond Reading and Writing — Ecological literacy
July: Organization or Organism?
August: Fear and Cynicism = “Inter-fear-ance”
September: Are we afraid of our "Better Angels?"
October: Choosing Our Battles
November: Meeting the Need
December: A Living Canvas

Diplomacy Help for Teens Science and Religion Poetry Archives
© 2007 SNS Press
All Rights Reserved