Thursday, March 10, 2011


Seeing the sad condition of this country lately when a relatively minor religious issues are potentially triggering bloody conflicts has sicken me. I am, as I've always stated, not a religious person. However as a human, seeing other people killed for choosing or even simply being something that is not the same as popular commons makes me really wonder, and finally relate to this elementary school thing which always repeated on and on every year as we can find in the Civics subject: Inter-religious tolerance.

I recently feel there is something wrong with the phrase. Something has lost in translation while fully understanding the meaning of the word 'tolerate'. It has the sense that something or someone is the normal and the truest of all things, and s/he lets the other who is outside her/his normal do things by her/his authority. At one point when s/he can not tolerate anymore, bad things will follow.

Here are the definitions of the word 'tolerate' I found in my computer's dictionary:

tolerate |ˈtäləˌrāt|

verb [ trans. ]

allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference : a regime unwilling to tolerate dissent.

accept or endure (someone or something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance : how was it that she could tolerate such noise?

be capable of continued subjection to (a drug, toxin, or environmental condition) without adverse reaction : lichens grow in conditions that no other plants tolerate.

Let me give you a case of tolerance. Someday in school, you had a math lesson. This teacher gave you a task to do ten complicated questions to be solved in 30 minutes. Apparently, the task is too hard for you that you couldn't finish it on time. So your teacher gave you ten minutes tolerance, wishing her/his students would finish the task. Your teacher didn't mean to respect you when s/he gave you time tolerance. It was simply because you couldn't meet her/his standard when doing the given work. In other words, you were not 'the normal' of your teacher. What if the teacher couldn't tolerate you? S/he will be very angry about this.

Other example is when you say 'I will not tolerate erratic behavior.' It indicates that there are some acts that other people do, but those acts do not meet your custom or idealism, and in some way you can not deal with them. 'Erratic' itself means 'not even or regular in pattern or movement'. The word doesn't even mean a bad thing. Only something not regular.

It is clear for me now why some people will not just let their friends -fellow human- live peacefully with their own virtue. I guess we are miseducated, being told that we are the truest, while other people with other preferences are just within our tolerance. So what is wrong with people with other religious believes than you? As long as they don't scar your being and way of life, they shall not be merely tolerated. They shall be RESPECTED for whatever their believes are. If you can not respect other people's choice, whereas her/his choice is legal and clearly stated in this country's constitution, then how will you respect other aspect of life?


hub said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hub said...

Hah, I can't agree more!
I've read a similar proposition somewhere by a culturalist.
He too, proposed the use of respect rather than tolerance, but he based it on how he thought the word tolerance had a hint of sacrificing oneself for others.
Tolerance is not an act of unconditional acceptance, it’s basically an act of bearing and holding one’s objections to something one hates. Unlike respect, which is an act of unconditional acceptance, because there is nothing to be objected anyway, and therefore sacrificing oneself to hold objections is a foreign thing.
He didn’t mention anything about how in truth the tolerating party must have a bit of self-righteousness inside, though. It’s very intriguing. You’re right. Without any self-righteousness, the tolerating party won’t have to tolerate anything at all, because everyone will be on the same level.

dai said...

Oh wow, where did you read the proposition? do you have the link or thing?

I don't know, suddenly the word 'tolerate' just feels wrong to me, and I really agree to what you've said.
I kinda think this is some kind of conspiration to intentionally infiltrate the young ages' minds with those condition I've mentioned. Maybe it is almost the same with translating 'productive ages' into 'angkatan kerja' rather than 'usia produktif'. You know, we just can tell how much different those sense of phrases are..

rizz said...

i think all the bloody "religous-war" we have recently in this messy country is infiltrated by political sh*tty... (sorry for the bad word)

~the more and more and more i hate greedy and corrupt indonesian politicians everyday that it suffocates me

hub said...

sorry, I can't remember. it's been a while.

I don't know if the word tolerate has a hidden agenda in it, but I think I get what you're saying. there's a lot of brainwashing out there. for instance, I just can't keep track all of the cosmetics commercials anymore. there's so many of them with arrays of brand new propositions on how you are not good enough. your arm pit is dark, you're ugly. you have a scar somewhere in your body, you're ugly. everyday they create new perspectives to make you see how ugly you are, just to sell products you don't actually need.
It's stupid.
and evil.

and yeah, I hate politicians too. bending over idealism for a bit of realism is fine with me, but most of them just go all the way to self-centered realism.
which is also evil, considering how huge their privilege and responsibilities are.