No Regrets, Let’s Clean Up the Mess Together – Part II

By Jim Selman | Bio

"The worldviews of our two generations are both equally valid. They are simply our assessments of ‘the way it is’ and what is and is not possible. Neither of our assessments are ‘the truth’. And neither are ‘false’.

Understanding this doesn’t make understanding each other’s perspective any easier. I have experience and perspective that you don’t have, just as you have experience and perspective that I don’t have. I may never understand the appeal in having tattoos or spending large amounts of time in virtual space. You may never understand the kind of ‘faith’ many of my peers have in public institutions. If we are going to work together, we need to be able to accept and appreciate each other’s viewpoint. More importantly, we need to appreciate and value that they are just different—not better—and that we don’t have to agree or even understand each other on every point.

The objective of Eldering (or any dialogue for that matter) is not to win an argument or pound our differences into some kind of ‘sameness’. We are always both ‘right’ from our respective points of view. And we need our different views to create anything new. Innovation happens at the intersection of at least two different disclosive spaces. When different worldviews come together, they can give rise to something that has never existed before. Without that intersection, we wouldn’t have Cirque de Soleil’s combination of circus and theater, bioengineering’s mashup of biology and technology, YouTube’s consumer video on the Internet. We wouldn’t even have American democracy (the heart of which is the intersection of the Magna Carta and the American Revolution).

Let’s transform our conventional wisdom about age as something that segments and divides us socially, politically, economically and spiritually. Let’s create a shared disclosive space that can restore our sense of community, unite us in a common vision, and open up the possibility of creating a future together at the intersection of ‘older’ and ‘younger’—a future that works for all of us and for many generations to come."

© 2009 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.

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