We live in a zero-sum society, where we are often confronted with the false choice that in order to win, someone else has to lose. We are taught to focus on the negative and what separates us rather than what brings us together, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In this week’s episode of The World According To Craig, host Craig Greiwe sits down for an empathetic conversation with UCLA Scholar Vanessa Warri to discuss how the only way to address our differences is by building on common ground. Warri shares her own incredible journey from being homeless to becoming a Ph.D. candidate, along with insights on what we can do to meet each other, rather than fight each other.
You don’t have to live someone’s experience to relate to them. We have a common shared humanity, and that’s a good starting place. Understanding that the person across from you is a person, a human deserving of respect that you share common ground with is the first step, and the best step forward.
“I think sometimes we tend to live in the moment, and all of these arguments and political debates, trying to construct our country according to one side of the other, it’s all for ‘what can I benefit from now.’ And that’s something we need to address,” says Warri. “People want change now, and people want to benefit from change now, and there are achievable things that can happen with a quick turnaround, but what can we achieve when we start to take a more long-term approach?”
Shifting focus from differences to a focus on commonality helps put a stop to flippant attitudes that dehumanize others. We can ultimately get to a place where we address our differences, but we can only get there when we realize that we achieve more together than apart.