Live and let live

Striped Insights

The call for tolerance sometimes takes on absurd proportions. This is always the case when it comes to discussions that mix opinions and facts. "Freedom of opinion" and “freedom of expression“ is very often insisted upon, such as in political debates. The threshold between tolerance and ignorance is naturally grave here. Is the right to freedom of expression at stake when deniers of Trump's defeat storm the Capitol in Washington? Where violence comes into play, surely this right ceases, so commonly socially agreed. And this state of affairs is not negotiable when violence is visible and actually occurs. It can therefore neither be a matter of justifying this act as an expression of opinion, nor of presenting criticism of the propensity to violence as an individual opinion. This case seems clear. But what about everyday violence, which is so ordinary that it disappears altogether?

Such an overlooked situation can be found, for example, in an image in my language course file: a beautiful, round glass, filled with clean water. In it, an orange-red fish. In front of it, a cat watching the fish. Quite normal, isn't it?

The fish can't do anything all its life except swim in circles over and over again in a tiny radius. That doesn't matter, because it supposedly only has a memory capacity of one and a half seconds. Doesn't it? Says who? Was the researcher a goldfish in his last incarnation?

Another everyday demonstration of violence are the rows of markets offering for sale severed parts of, until recently, living bodies, chicly calling themselves "meat and fish counters." In discussing whether humans have the right to simply kill other living creatures at will and according to taste preferences, I have often heard a particularly interesting claim. The wish of those who do not want to deal with it more closely, or who do not care about the fact of violence. They then demand tolerance with the phrase "live and let live". A good approach for change, isn't it?

Okapi takes a deep breath and closes its eyes, which are surrounded by thick long eyelashes. - Are you seriously going to meditate here now? Zebra asks irritatedly.

- Absolutely. I can't think of anything else to say at the moment. If I'm so excited by the discussions, I have to calm down first, Okapi replies. - That sounds reasonable, but you, as an animal, are not entitled to reason. - That depends, says Okapi with an important face. - And now please be quiet. A little inner journey wouldn't do you any harm either.

With these words, Okapi strikes a deep gong.