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How do we listen? What filters do we have activated at all times? When we hear or read something that raises our hackles, are we quick to decry what bothers or offends us, then dismiss the speaker or author as undeserving of our attention and respect? Do we consider a point of view that disturbs us to be as valid as our own? The person holding such a view may be unable to consider any other option. For example, a person may base a prejudice on a fear. That fear, unless dealt with constructively and lovingly, will continue to shape a viewpoint until the person holding that viewpoint abandons it. We can’t change the way other people think. Only those “other people” can change their way of thinking. Do we help or hinder that process by the way we react? Then again, maybe we are the ones where the change needs to occur. It is a disturbing paradox that our intolerance of intolerance may be precisely what perpetuates such intolerance.

Where did we learn to think the way that we think? If we consider ourselves open-minded, are we even aware when or how often we close our minds?

Hanging out with outlaws and outcasts is no big deal anymore. How do we assess the respectable people of this world? Do we give the full measure of respect to the worthy bourgeoisie whose tithes to the church where the AA group meets do more to keep the doors open than our relatively paltry rent does?

Contemplate how and why you determine a person’s worthiness.