Can we have civility when we don’t agree on what’s true and what’s not?
When we hold on to our worldviews, and when they become more than merely window dressing, and they become integrated into our overall identities, we can find it incredibly difficult to engage with others civilly.
So, we resort to not talking, talking about mere banalities, or talking about distractions that mean nothing at all.
When we are unwilling to hear different perspectives on the facts that we hold dear, we lose the ability to be flexible when the fundamentals that underlie those facts change.
As fundamentals always do.
When we are unwilling to acknowledge that there might be different outcomes to difficulties, conflicts, and competitions that might just be as good for just as many people as the outcomes that we favor, then we become concretely encased in the pursuit of outcomes.
And everything else be damned.
Can we have civility if we are unable, unwilling, and incapable, of going outside of our worldviews, perspectives, and preferred outcomes toward what another person may value?
When we are wedded tighter to the secure arrogance that theater, spectacle, and display inevitably provide, rather than being wedded inexorably to humility, grace, and forgiveness, we will be constantly surprised by what outcome “wins” and what outcome “loses.”
And we will allow our capacity to engage in civility to erode.
When we are more concerned with the freedom to be expressive, rather than the responsibility of soberly and judiciously informing another party of the truth, then we will allow ourselves to fall into incivility.
And our communication culture will erode into communication anarchy.
Can we have civility in the process of moving toward communication anarchy?
Conflicts—based in values, identities, worldviews, and emotions—are sure to become more damaging and deleterious when we cannot separate far enough from people whose values, identities, worldviews, and emotions, (and maybe even existence) we find to be odious above all else.