I have decided to use my hatred for peas as an analog for what I mean when I speak about tolerance and intolerance.
Many things in our Universe appear to be relative and not absolute. So, just like most things, my hatred for peas is NOT absolute. If it was, I would not likely be able to function in the world, as I encounter peas far more often than I'd like. So in order to rationally continue on with my life, I occasionally MUST tolerate peas.
This does not mean that I do not hate peas. I despise their taste, texture, smell, shape and color. I try my best to avoid peas. I do not intentionally purchase items with peas in them. I do not order anything off of a restaurant menu that mentions peas in the description, even if and when I am assured by the wait staff that the peas can be optional (they never are, those little bastards find my plate, they always find my plate).
I have mentioned in other writings that tolerance is not very becoming to a philosophical belief or religious viewpoint, because in the end, most dogma (certainly) and powerful ideas or beliefs (usually) require a large amount of buy-in, in order to be accepted as worthwhile. Buying into one thing, forces us to exclude others. That is just the way it is and what logic dictates.
Well then, how much tolerance is too much tolerance? I don't know. I only know two things about tolerance: (1) Without Tolerance, existence would be virtually impossible, unless the Universe was in fact only me existing in my mind and (2) With Tolerance our belief systems are diluted, illogical and internally inconsistent.
Is there something in the way that I manage peas that may help me understand a functioning variety of intolerance? Maybe I should explore some George-to-pea interaction scenarios to find out.
Avoidance: To some extent, I find that this strategy takes the most over all energy. Although the energy spent at any given moment is barely measurable, the total amount of energy that I have spent in my life avoiding peas is quite significant. I discussed above how I avoid peas, I don't have them in the house, I don't buy them and I am vigilant at restaurants, picnics and other food encounters. I even risk irritating (at best) and alienating (at worst) those whom I care about the most, in order to employ this strategy effectively. This strategy seems to work well 99%+ of the time, as it seems now that I reflect on it, I often go weeks on end without encountering peas.
Acknowledge and Separate: When I run across a pea (and I eventually do), I have to acknowledge it. I have learned over the years how to quickly separate myself from peas. Strategies include, plate shielding, mechanical separation (usually with a fork or spoon), napkin hiding and others. This strategy works when I have let my guard down, but do not have an easy option of running away without losing face. Although there IS a fine line between separation and avoidance here. Anyway, I suppose that these seemingly inevitable encounters with peas happen to me a few times per year. Let's call it less than 1%.
Acknowledge and Ignore: As much as I hate to admit it, I have been in situations where I am in a weak or compromised state (usually very hungry and tired) and I accidentally allow myself to be exposed to a large, overwhelming horde of peas. Typically in this state, I first attempt to weigh my avoidance or separation options, only to realize that I either have to go hungry or actually risk eating peas. Under this scenario, I DO often perform some separation, especially when it is easy and doesn't waste much of the food, but invariably, I end up eating some peas, just out of pure laziness, poor coordination and hunger. To mask their horrid taste, I make sure to utilize whatever meat or acceptable vegetable items are mixed in with the peas in the best way possible. Sometimes, I swallow the stew or soup whole to avoid tasting or chewing them altogether. Now that I am an adult, well fed and financially stable, this scenario RARELY if EVER happens any more. I find it interesting that a modest amount of wealth, some education, the ability to think clearly and the freedom to act rationally, help me virtually never have an encounter with my most hated food.
Acknowledge and Destroy: I have never actually employed this strategy, but I suppose if I won $100,000,000 in the Lotto, I could waste that money attempting to eradicate peas from the planet. I am sure that it would take trillions of dollars to make a real dent in the pea population and even then, peas would find their way back. While this strategy seems ridiculous, irrational and immoral, I find it amazing just how many people, countries, religions and other groups attempt to employ it. Of all of the strategies, acknowledge and destroy requires the most belief and commitment. The intensity of feeling, thought and action required to employ this strategy consistently requires an almost brain-washed level of belief in something greater than ourselves or beyond our comprehension. Those employing this strategy would have to offer up sacred writings and symbols worth dying for*, in order to promote such a high risk - low reward approach to a "problem". Some people would be compelled to give their own lives for the cause and those people would have to be revered by ALL in order to continue the propagation of the idea that this strategy makes any sense.
Wow, I guess I really don't hate peas that much after all ................
(I wanted to give my readers more credit than this and I apologize to those that find the footnote unnecessary. I am sorry, but I feared more that the point may be missed by some others)
* ",,,sacred writings and symbols worth dying for."
An Emblem, Symbol or Relic
A Person or Vestige
A Document or Declaration
A Sacred or Special Piece of Land
Disclaimer: Any relation that your brain draws between this blog post and recent world events is purely incidental and in fact your damn fault, not mine...... you pea lover!
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