Last week, I talked about world peace and offered my thoughts on how we can achieve it. In last Saturday’s post I said, “I think that tolerating and even encouraging reasonable differences in others are the twin keys to world peace.” I feel that these two keys are like Siamese twins that cannot be separated without the result being death. I believe that when world peace is finally achieved (and yes I think it will be one day) that it will be the collective and simultaneous embracing of the principles of tolerance and respect that will make it happen.
Last week, I also promised to tell you all how I think we can accurately determine what behaviours in others are reasonable, and should be tolerated and encouraged. The test I am about to propose is a two edged sword that cuts both ways. The test not only cuts through the rhetoric and emotion and personal preference and past tradition to reveal what behaviour is good and what behaviours should be encouraged, but it also clearly highlights behaviours that are not good and what behaviours should be discouraged. Are you ready to hear the Davis Bigelow Test? It is really quite simple and works best when applied to the jugular issues of life - especially moral and ethical issues.
Here is my theory: Take a particular behaviour – any behaviour, and by imagination, apply that behaviour (action or inaction) to every person in a society who is of the appropriate age to be included in the hypothetical test. (For example: 1st Grade education to 100% of all normal 6 year olds, or Marriage of 100% of all normal adult men to 100% of all normal adult women of similar age, or Homosexual relationships for all 100% of all normal adult men, etc, etc.) Then, in your imagination, project the result of the behaviour if 100% of the study group did it – or didn’t do it. Then, ask the tough, open-minded question. “Are the results positive or negative?” If the results are positive, then that behaviour should be encouraged and enhanced and incorporated. If negative, then the behaviour should be discouraged and quickly gotten rid of. It seems that the entire debate over what is right & wrong could easily be solved with this technique. What would happen if 100% of adults never told the truth? Or how about if 100% of all drivers displayed road rage? Or what would happen if 100% of all adults played video games for eight hours for each and every day? The list of behaviours that can be plugged into this test is vast, but each imaginer must follow some basic rules:
1. The projected result must not be influenced by a personal opinion.
2. The projected result must be founded in fact and ideally should be based on actual, available data. (There are thousands of empirical studies to choose from.)
3. Some behaviours, such as, “Which side should we part our hair on?” (at least for those of you who have hair), are not significant enough to matter and should not be plugged into the Davis Bigelow Test. The categories of questions that will trigger the best responses from the Davis Bigelow Test are very toughest questions of religion, morality, sexuality, honesty, etc.
Let’s take the traditional marriage/gay marriage debate as an example. If 100% of all who wanted to marry, engaged in traditional marriage, what would be the result? How about if all we had was gay marriage – for 100% of all adults who wanted to marry? What would happen in either scenario? Would society benefit or not? The questions are not, “Would I benefit?” or “Will the result be what I personally want?” When I ask these last two questions, and I’m going to be blunt about it – I am showing my yellow belly of selfishness. I do not live alone; therefore, every choice I make in public or in private makes some difference to society, either large or small, and therefore all my choices are the business of everyone else. I have an obligation to tolerate and to give willing respect to others. And I have the right to be tolerated and respected by others. How about world peace? I think the 60’s song got it right, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!”
Sounds like the ultimate extreme adventure to me – and you know how I feel about adventure!