Letter from a Customer — Blew Me Way!
Have you ever gotten a customer ‘thank you’ note that takes you by surprise… and makes you feel completely humbled and grateful? I did. In an email. After I got over the initial shock and feeling of appreciation… I asked if I could share it with you, because I thought it was powerful, touching and moving — and she said yes. Thank you, Megan!
Thanks so much for the ebook. I found it so enlightening.
As environmentalists we often argue from a position of ‘rightness’, convinced that — if we can just explain our position to others in detail — they will come to agree with us, simply because what we have to say is ‘right.’
What your ebook helped me to understand is that those who oppose us feel exactly the same way; they’re trying to impress upon us their own ‘rightness’ and, in doing so, change our minds.
As you explain, if we want to be listened to we must first be prepared to listen; if we want to be respected we must first respect others, even those whose views we find reprehensible.
‘Seek first to understand’ was the phrase that sprang to mind.
As a consequence of reading your book, I have volunteered to be an ethics teacher at the local primary school.
I know that this may seem like a departure from environmental activism, but what I’ve come to understand is that simply stating my opinions on the environment is often the metaphorical equivalent of shouting into the wind.
I attribute this to a broad based deficiency in critical thinking skills and the application of philosophical relativism to most people’s thinking (including, I’m afraid, many environmentalists).
I believe we need to be teaching philosophical ethics to people, to have them participate in a ‘community of inquiry‘ and to allow them to develop sound, well argued opinions on all manner of topics, including the environment.
Only then will we be able to move beyond a debate that is characterized by the stating and restating of identical opposing arguments coupled with the tendency for both sides to resort to personal insults rather than engaging in genuine debate.
We all need to learn to think better. We need to be able to apply reason to our thinking and to listen to the views of others with a genuine desire to understand their point of view, even when our first response is to disagree. I think this shift is a critical one.
If we are listening only with the purpose of developing some kind of opportunity to state our own case we are not really listening. We must, at all times, be prepared to accept the possibility that new information could result in us changing our minds.
We must, I believe, accept that in any strongly polarized argument there is the possibility that ultimately, the truth will be a middle way.
I have recommended your book to others, including members and elected representatives of our political party ‘The Greens’. Ironically, I have had difficulty convincing them of the merits of buying and reading the book because they are so sure that all they need to do is to keep being adversarial and passionately stating their point of view! I hope, in time, that some of them will come to ask that important question, “Is there a better way?” and that when they do, they purchase your work.