The Theory of “Evilution”

Цена на героин One thing I know for sure is that no one can know anything for sure. Certainly, there are plenty of conflicting theories floating around about the universe, the “Big Bang,” climate change, economics and so forth. These are all topics of colorful debate among both the well – and not-so-well – informed.

Conflicting perspectives can bring workplace relationships to a grinding halt: Diversity programs bring with them greatly varying employee perspectives. Trouble begins when our need to be right overshadows the possibility that we might be wrong.

This conflict can lead to a crescendo of argumentation I call the “evilution” of a conversation. Suddenly a discussion of perspectives turns into arguments over the credibility of the opposing party. And that’s particularly bad in the workplace.

When asked to draw a circle that represents all knowledge, both known and unknown, most people draw a very large circle. When asked to draw a relative representation of all of human knowledge, most draw a tiny dot. People generally agree that, as our knowledge is limited, we must create theories. And it is in the realm of theories that thoughtful workplace discussion can crescendo into argumentation.

The Oxford Dictionary defines a theory as “a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something.” But how do we reconcile these differing perspectives without coming to fisticuffs?

The most effective way to reduce this friction is for all parties to agree they don’t have complete knowledge. To demonstrate this, I’ve chosen perhaps the most challenging example of a subject that can really ruffle the diversity feathers: Religion. (Hoo boy… here we go!)

Imagine an equilateral triangle where the top point represents “The Great What Is,” the realm of unfathomable theological truth. At the second point is what I’ll call personal “Religious Theory.” It represents one’s best understanding… one’s theories… of “The Great What Is.” This is where the rubber hits the roadkill: It’s the place of divisiveness of opinion. We can only begin to solve conflicts of our individual perspectives when we agree that none of us knows everything there is to know (the small circle).

We now come to the third and final point on the triangle, “Enlightenment.” Enlightenment is the place of balance between fallibility and truth – where the pursuit of knowledge is more important than the pride of dogmatic religious conviction.

Socrates said, “All I know is that I know nothing,” consequently turning reproach of one’s opponent into an occasion to approach that same person.

When we take a moment to consider our own fallibility – and embrace it, understanding can take place. Judgment wanes. Trust develops. Walls fall.

Workplace evilution comes as a result of pride and hardheadedness. It can be thwarted when we learn — and teach — the theory’s simplified summary: “I’ll tell you my perspective. Will you tell me yours?”


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