As if the only response to politics, art, and individuals is like or dislike. Black or white. Agree or disagree. Opinions, opinions, opinions. Like or dislike - the famous facebook thumbs. How many likes have you got? As if a response in the like/dislike mode brings us one step nearer to perceive what we are presented with.
Once you start to observe, you see this everywhere - in debates, the media, relationships. We need to overcome this, because in the like/dislike mode the true nature of things is hidden. It disappears. Because what truly matters is to understand. And then to find out how to separate right from wrong. The yes from the no. This takes humility, listening, time - caution with our instinctive reactions, gentleness with events, peoples, settings, the strangeness of images. Understanding is more than mere emotion - it is about discovery and learning. This is so far removed from condemning someone in a wink (be it a politicians, celebrity, roommate or relative) or falling for something without a further thought. As a former professor I learned something about the art of teaching - and how crucial it is to accompany students by supporting their individual growth - in helping them to slowly move away from intense likes or dislikes to interest, gentle caution, and a discovery mode. Likes or dislikes work with prejudice. Gentleness and enthusiasm break the spell.
What the like/dislike culture does is to keep us occupied while nothing is accomplished. Like/dislike glues us to where we are right now and instills - without words a - a sense of the meaninglessness of human events. Mary Baker Eddy calls this "floating off on the wings of sense" and writes in "Improve your Time" about more successful individuals: "They spend no time in sheer idleness, in talking when they have nothing to say, in building air castles or floating off on the wings of sense: all of which drop human life into the ditch of nonsense, and worse than waste its years." (in Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, p. 230)
So here we are, so much to discover, so much to learn, so much to experience, and climbing over the like/dislike-option is critical to progress. What a relief! When I had to work with someone who differed so much from me that I was mentally pushing the "dislike" button, these insights came to my rescue. I could see that it didn't matter whether I liked or disliked this individual. It just didn't, for his life, for the world, for my own spiritual growth. My job was not to move beyond dislike to like but to understand, and this job could be accomplished by diving deeply and unquestioningly into divine Love, leaving pride in human assessment behind. I saw how God was teaching me to love. This is beautifully expressed in Psalm 36:
"Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light."
The like/dislike urge lessened until it finally left - I could understand and see more, feel God's "unfailing love" for both of us, and the resistance simply melted away. A healed relationship. This has enriched other aspects of my experience, too: Encounters with people from different cultures and religions, encounters with avantgarde art, politicians whose perspectives differ from mine. It is a blessing to meet without judgment or opinion. And to nurture the response "how interesting!" instead. Everyone is entitled to good, everyone. Everyone deserves to be seen in his or her true light and life. Our opinions in this respect don't matter. Because God is Love, everyone is worthy, unique, loved. That is all that matters.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.