When I think about people, I try very hard to remember that we are all so very different: finding common ground is therefore much more difficult than we often admit. I think about that a lot when I listen to discussions that force people to cross the ground needed to really understand someone else’s viewpoint. Generalizations and broad categorizations are thrown in quickly to help one side deal with the complexities of the other. But generalizations and categorizations are things I fear rather than relish: they save on thinking, and often limit willingness to explore the ‘what if’ of a generalization being wrong.
When we think about ourselves, our self-esteem, if high, will set us above others. With very elevated self-esteem, we may even be able to not really see other people, especially their problems and difficulties. We recognize that characteristic more often in others than we do in ourselves, and we often see it in persons who seek to stand above others, such as politicians. We love our particular characteristics but often fail to see those particularities in others.
I love to think about people as I do potatoes: really extremely varied, on the outside and inside, if you bother to get to know them. Some are knobbly; some are smooth. Some have fluffy textures; some are sticky and starchy. Some are simple coloured; some are so garish as to be like flowers. If you think potatoes are dull and uninteresting, you may change your view if you ever try to grow them–and that is one of the easiest things about them. Even the simplest of varieties will give offspring that are very different. If you think potatoes are one size, one type, think again.
One potato, two potato, three potato, four,
five potato, six potato, seven potato more.