Five Ways Our Senses Can Help Through Conflict

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Thoreau once said, " If I do not keep in step with others, it is because I hear a different drumbeat."

But what if you're surrounded and overwhelmed by drumbeats?  What if you don't even know what a drum sounds like anymore?

I did a wedding in the Duke Chapel this past weekend and saw the Occupy Duke/Durham protest.  I had to wonder (as I didn't have time to ask) if they had taken time to consider their parents were paying over $50,000 a year to send them to a private university and most families at Duke represent the 1%?

And why do so many on the other side of the equation condemn said protesters?  Do they not sense the disconnect?  They talk about greed and envy but what about the forgotten passion known as avarice, the unwillingness to share one's resources with others?

Dr. Roberta Bondi points out the passions cause blindness.  I think they also cause deafness, as well as the loss of all senses.  We need to reconsider and review what we learned in grade school about our five senses.


1.  Seeing is believing.  Our society is dominated by this sense.  The historic first televised debate between Nixon and Kennedy ushered us into the age of sight that has dominated us.  As a broadcasting major, we learned the importance of manipulating an image.  It is easy to make a crowd out of 20 people and just as simple to make 1,000 no more relevant than 10.

2.  You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.  We do need to listen more and talk less.  We also need to realize that sound bites are not information - they're appetizers.  I've about had it with both groups of my friends (left and right) who all sound ignorant when they keep spitting out quotes of intended to irritate their 'opponents.'  It does not take long for the ears to reveal true colors and help us see the truth.

3.  I smell a rat.  I have never smelled a rat but I have been into some pretty disgusting places and homes.  You honestly don't have to see a rat (or mouse) to know they are there.  Get enough information and your gut takes over.  Smell is the sense of the gut.  Radio, TV, internet, Wall Street to Washington and Democrat to Republican, we are covered up in rats.  The color makes no difference nor does matter if it is in the wild or a pet: a rat is still a rat.


4.  Taste and see.  This is the sense of faith.  At some point we step out and take a chance, we put the data into us and try it out.  The phrase is from scripture (Psalm 34:8) and it simply points out we can't keep doing life by reason or tradition alone.  Of the debates and senses related to our current world, it is the one sense few have the courage to acknowledge let alone use.

5.  Give me a hug!  It is okay if you don't but you cannot ever lose sight of this one thing: we are each human beings - we are mortal and we have feelings, experiences and thoughts that differ from one another.  I love the song, "We All Bleed Red," for it connects us to the reality of our humanity that we will never escape.


May I Ask?  What sense will you use today to know others better?



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