So what is tolerance?

Let us pretend for a moment that you have an identical twin. This twin looks exactly like you, behaves exactly like you do, believes the same things you do, and in no way differs from you. This twin would be very easy to get along with, for in many ways you would be playing with a mirror image of yourself. It could also get very boring, if you had no one else to play with.

In order to play with other children, who will be different from us in many ways, for instance in the way they dress, the food they like, the fluffiness of their eyebrows, etc., we have to choose to allow for those differences. We agree not to reject these children, but accept them as friends who will enrich our lives by their diversity.

Finding ways of allowing for these differences is what tolerance is all about.

Differences are important. Not just because then our friends are more fun to play with, but because that is what makes our lives possible. Imagine a world where everyone was so much the same that they all became shoemakers. Who would then make pants and shirts? Who would make bread, cheese, and tomato soup? Who would build roads and offices? How could we possibly survive? We also need differences of houses and food in order to live in different places. We need differences of opinion in order to learn new things. Many other differences are also necessary, and those that may not seem necessary often add color, variety, and pleasure to our lives, if we allow ourselves to experience them that way.

  • Tolerance