“if there’s one thing i learned from fraternity life...”

today i met up with one of my favorite fraternity brothers. we talked about a lot, but one of the topics was about lessons learned from living together.

he said this, “if there’s one thing i learned from living in the [fraternity] house it was how to live and function with people who had fundamentally different world views than me. i might have major disagreements with them, but because we live in the same place, we still figured out how to work together.”

his statement reminds me of several conversations we’re having at work right now. one of them is the belief that people, in spite of their diffrences, can come together and collectively make the world a better place for all of us (we call this big democracy). the other is a question i’ve been holding about our work: “how close do two or more people need to be in order to be honest about their beliefs but still keep moving forward together? how much do i need to know someone else in order to genuinely respect them and, if we disagree, still keep working them towards some goal we do share?”

in the age of the internet and ever-polarizing politics, it’s easier than ever to seclude oneself from dissenting opinions. this can look like: defriending/unfollowing people who disagree with you, only following/friending people who agree with you, only consuming news media that, generally, agrees with your point of view, etc.

but that, honestly, just doesn’t seem like a legitimate pathway forward.