WE will always have differences of views and opinions due to our differences of backgrounds, preferences, visions, etc. In a way, this is good, to be expected, and, in fact, also to be fostered.
This variety can only enrich our life in many ways. Many of them come in some unexpected, even unwelcome manners. But the conflicts and clashes can shed some light of clarification, and can even release a certain energy to stir us to action and transformation.
They somehow enlarge our world, freeing us from the grip of our own biases and improper attachments. They introduce us to new things or to some inconvenient truths that are good for us to realize.
Yes, tension is unavoidable in this process, and depending on how we handle it, it can do us a lot of good or it can also harm us. Of course, the best way is always to pray, to bring matters first before God before we present them to others.
Then it is good to have a firm hold of our emotions, our thoughts and words, and to constantly hone our communication skills even to the point of polishing the art of eloquence and elegance. By all means, let’s avoid gutter language and rude manners.
This training is, of course, an ongoing and lifelong process. We can never say we are good enough in this department. Especially these days when events and developments with their issues come to us very rapidly, aided also by our very advanced communication technologies, we should take good care of our formation in this area.
There’s just one thing that, I think, we have to be warned about these days. This is the phenomenon of spins, a conscious, self-serving if not malicious effort to distort facts and data.
This usually comes about when we are too attached to our views and opinions, when we are not open-minded, when we do not exert effort to understand the views of others, when we think that we are always correct.
And all these can be abetted by our undisciplined emotions and passions, and worse, when we blindly follow, as in being fanatical, some ideologies and the official positions of their leaders, often mouthing empty slogans and clichés.
For example, in the current heat of the relief and rebuild work in the aftermath of Yolanda and the earthquake, there are obvious attempts to make spins to rationalize things, to hide certain things while showing off other things.
We can see that in the Korina-Anderson affair, the PNoy-Mar and the Romualdezes tiff, the DSWD and Lucy Torres things. Things are getting confused and certainly are harming the rehabilitation efforts.
The spin also can come about when we happen to be professional communicators like journalists, public relations practitioners, people in media in general who are paid to do the job of communicating.
Like lawyers, they can be tasked to promote and defend certain interests of clients, customers, political parties, different groups and sectors of the population. There is nothing wrong with that. That’s how the cookie crumbles in any society.
But while this profession is very legitimate, we always have to understand that like all other professions, it is subject to the requirements of ethics and morality. No one should dare to practice journalism or public relations work without a clear idea of ethics and morality.
It’s true that media practitioners can highlight certain angles of the issues at hand, but they are not free to make up stories, tell lies, fall into deception and unreasonable attacks, or to wag the dog, that is, when something of secondary importance takes on the role of something of primary importance, often straining credibility.
In the world of politics that sadly now colors the relief-and-rebuild operations, spins usually sprout like weeds. We need to actively expose and uproot them as soon as they come.
There’s always need to continually rectify our intentions, review the data thoroughly, check on the credibility of the sources. Everyone has to work toward the common good, ferreting the truth where they can be found, and always promoting justice and fairness.
There should be eagerness to engage others in a meaningful and respectful dialogue, with the right manners, language, tone and timing. These conditions contribute to sustaining a good and fruitful exchange of views.
Neither should we forget the need for delicacy, understanding and forgiveness, both in asking for it and in giving it readily. Thus, even as boldness and decisiveness are crucial in any dialogue, the traits of humility and simplicity should never disappear. These always create a conducive ambience for dialogue.