Listening does not happen when judgment covers the ears

Donald Trump won. Facebook feeds are divided. I can feel the strong emotion from friends on both sides. I hope everyone recovers soon, and I hope no one would be hurt, or be asked to quit a job, or be deprived to be a gay, because of his/her political view, as a fundamental principal that is widely accepted on both sides.

From Brexit to US election, why all the polls, analysis, media, and financial markets failed to see these coming? In both cases we have seen exactly the same behavior: we were pricing a substantial advantage of the established, even on the morning of the vote, until we got educated.

All seem to be pointing to the direction that, it attracts too much attack to tell the truth. Too often, people were labeled as loser, sexist, racist, nuts, stupid, hatred, brainwashed, under educated, etc., when they express their different opinion. This happens on both ways, but naturally it is way more common, aggressive and abusive from the side with power or sense of superiority. In a world where representatives of political power, media voice and moral rightness all act like this, people with different opinion will be afraid to talk. Initially it looks great – you created such illusion that the whole world agree with you. Then some of you would act even more *confidently*. However disagreement would not disappear. They accumulate, quietly, until one day they shock you. 防民之口,甚于防川。In a mature society like UK and the US, it creates massive social turbulence. It would be more destructive in other less developed societies.

That is harmful. That is more harmful than one or two percent of votes, here or there. The fact that people are afraid to talk in an open society is seriously alarming. It could be well the case that you are right and they are wrong. It is probably true that some of their situations are inevitable. However no matter what opinion people may have, I would like the poll to reflect the true distribution, I would like the media to have a roughly fair coverage of the full spectrum. That is the first step that we can start to listen, then to understand their concern, to provide a genuine comfort, and to do something at least for those who want to make an effort. That is the only way we can engage people and to find agreeable compromise to move forward. Even if there is no solution after all the effective communications, the engagement itself will help us in creating a much more inclusive environment that we all love.

Making upfront judgment and labeling will simply shut people down. That is on the contrary of all the good principals we have and we fight for.

This is not a reminder to any single side. It is not just for politics. It actually happens everyday. It is a reminder to anyone in power, anyone who might be in a powerful position in a conversation setup, myself included. Yes it is less pleasant to hear someone disagree with you. However the existence of a different opinion is invaluable to form a comprehensive perspective of the world. We all shall have the wisdom and courage to ask: what if I am wrong? And start listening from there.



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