August 30, 2014

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Civility through dialogue

The late A. Bartlett Giamatti, former Commissioner of Major League Baseball and former President of Yale University, said, “Civility is the core of civilization.” Given the cynicism and polarization that appears all too common today, one wonders if we’ve collectively lost our core.

It seems that the dearth of civility in our society typically occurs in emotionally charged arenas like politics, social issues, or religion. People feel so exceedingly passionate about these issues that they often lose any semblance of objectivity. Instead of being open to other points of view they seek reinforcement of their own ideals and are intolerant of dissent. This resistance to understanding maintains ignorance, heightens intolerance, and greatly contributes to incivility.