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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

Opinion | Intolerance towards disagreements is dangerous

Opinion+%7C+Intolerance+towards+disagreements+is+dangerous
Olga Tseytlin | Staff Illustrator

I’ve always considered myself a rather stubborn individual, but alongside that trait, I’ve prided myself on a certain level of self-awareness. I’ve been cautious never to impose my thoughts onto others, respecting their perspectives even if they differed from mine. However, as of late, I’ve noticed a shift within myself — it’s not stubbornness that’s consuming me, but rather, an unsettling intolerance towards any form of disagreement. 

Recognizing this issue within myself prompted me to turn my gaze outward, only to find that it’s not an isolated struggle. It feels like everyone around me shares this attitude. This realization has sparked a series of questions — why is this intolerance so prevalent? What caused it? However, let me first clarify the type of intolerance I’m addressing.

Seated on the first floor of Cathy, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation among four students. They were discussing a professor they all despised, seemingly agreeing that the professor should never teach again. What struck me was the cause of their frustration with the professor — his insistence on citing sources in essays rather than allowing for free expression of opinions. It sounded eerily reminiscent of conversations I’ve had with friends in the past.

While it’s entirely normal to disagree with a professor’s teaching methods and even harbor some dislike for their approach, veering into a realm of complete hatred and intolerance signifies a wholly distinct issue. The reality is, you are not the only person in the world, and I am not the only person in the world. Our viewpoints are just a fraction of a whole and, therefore, not exclusively deserving of attention. 

Intolerance towards differing viewpoints can quickly escalate beyond mere disagreement, morphing into a deep-seated animosity towards those who hold opposing beliefs. In extreme cases, such animosity can lead individuals to despise others solely for having their own perspectives, creating rifts in relationships and possibly even entire societies. 

While mere gossip such as the professor case may seem harmless, I’m thinking far forward to what that could become. Intolerance can serve as a breeding ground for egocentrism, where individuals prioritize their own beliefs above all else, disregarding the validity of alternative viewpoints. 

History is rife with examples of individuals and organizations whose unwavering belief in their own righteousness led to significant conflicts. Let us not forget that, when Galileo placed the sun at the center of the solar system with the Earth and other planets revolving around it, the Catholic Church put him on house arrest for the rest of his life. 

While I’m rational enough to acknowledge the improbable leap from intolerance of a teaching method to outright banning an innocent person for mere disagreement, the core issue remains significant. Refusal to engage with new perspectives poses a genuine threat, especially in societies with a blend of different cultures and nationalities like our own. 

I find it challenging to pinpoint the root cause of the growing intolerance I’ve observed, but I speculate that living on a campus with a multitude of cultures and perspectives might contribute to this issue. The differing viewpoints could potentially lead us to become ensnared in our own thoughts.

Whenever I find myself grappling with an issue, I’ve learned that acknowledging my struggle helps me pause and reassess how I interact with others, especially when frustration arises. This self-awareness encourages me to respond more thoughtfully. 

If acknowledgment alone fails to tackle intolerance, it may indicate a deeper-rooted issue. Intolerance might stem from a desire for things to align with one’s own preferences, or it could be a manifestation of a lack of exposure to diverse perspectives. 

To address the issue of limited exposure, proactive self-education presents a straightforward solution. Whether it’s attending workshops, book clubs, or any campus events hosted by different groups, the effort to control one’s intolerance will slowly start to show. 

Let me finally clarify, this column isn’t about playing the saint and preaching that gossiping or venting frustrations with a friend is off-limits. I’ll be the first to confess that dramatically spilling tea to my best friend is therapeutic. However, I’ve come to recognize that dwelling excessively on negativity leads nowhere productive. It’s crucial to discern when to set boundaries and recognize when disagreement morphs into outright intolerance.

Nada Abdulaziz loves writing about anything philosophy related — to chat about Aristotle email her at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Nada Abdulaziz, Senior Staff Writer
Nada Abdulaziz is a senior majoring in Philosophy and Biological Sciences. She loves spending her free time reading, hiking, and watching Studio Ghibli films.