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Reader's View: Cooperating with the other side ‘difficult’

Viewing things as a blessing or curse tends to make people black-or-white thinkers, and the outcome tends to be an us-vs.-them or a my-way-or-the-highway attitude.

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I've read a few letters recently supporting the need for cooperation between people and parties. Here's the problem: As Carlos Castaneda wrote, "There's a difference between a warrior and a normal person. The warrior views every obstacle as a challenge, whereas the normal person views everything as a blessing or a curse."

Viewing things as a blessing or curse tends to make people black-or-white thinkers, and the outcome tends to be an us-vs.-them or a my-way-or-the-highway attitude. (An example is the apparent attitude of Scott Jensen and Matt Birk regarding abortion. Because of their attitude, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to cooperate with them in this area.)

What makes it more difficult to cooperate with others is when a person responds to having their position challenged, and they view the challenge as a "curse." They'll often respond by taking the challenge personally. Their tendency then is to view others as persecutors and respond as if others are the enemy. (Wanting to be seen as having the "courage of their convictions," Jensen and Birk seem to think this way about abortion and other things. Apparently, neither is aware it takes more courage to examine one's opinions for errors and change them when they're wrong or inadequate.)

I find it difficult to have a rational conversation with anyone who takes a differing point of view personally — and then treats me like an enemy and wants me to change. It's as if they think they're never wrong. When I'm treated like an enemy, I have to work to not view them as the enemy as well. I often have to remind myself that, most often, their fear is their enemy. I suspect this is why cooperation is often more difficult than it should be.

Gary Burt

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