Generous otherness

Asking a generous question will elicit a generous answer.’*

I marvel at how everything is made of the same stuff as the planets and stars … and yet everything is different.

We live in this wonder of sameness and difference.

This kind of difference is not the same as surface-difference – lamented here by Erich Fromm:

‘If I perceive in another person mainly the surface, I perceive mainly the differences.  If I penetrate to the core, I perceive our identity, the fact of our brotherhood.’**

Deep openness to one another is a compassionate act.  The opposite action of closedness is cynical:

“When cynicism becomes the default language, playfulness and invention become impossible. Cynicism scours through a culture like bleach, wiping out millions of small, seedling ideas. Cynicism means your automatic answer becomes “No.” Cynicism means you presume everything will end in disappointment.”^

We can only discover our sameness and difference with the help of others in a generous otherness.

(*Krista Tippett in the online course The Art of Conversation.)
(*From Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving.)
(**Caitlin Moran, quoted in Maria Popova’s BrainPickings: Caitlin Moran on Fighting the Cowardice of Cynicism.)

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