When somebody asks permission to do something, he shows the prudence of an individual who is not sure either of doing something write or doing it at the right moment. The election of the other individual, the one who has been asked, represents the other condition needed to act in good faith.
The role of an adviser could be done responsibly if he analyzes the issue properly and seeks to do the good. But it could also be irresponsible if he gives an unsupported answer: everything is fine, everything works… This is what permissiveness is about: the lack of orientation, giving the other individual the argument that whatever is done is not important.
In today’s world all countries are close and it is easy to learn other ways of life. We have always known about how other cultures face their personal and community necessities, but now we witness it first-hand. Globalization wraps us up and that is why we must apply tolerance, so we do not discard those who are different than us. Tolerance helps us in assuming the attitude needed to listen to them, so we can find out their motivations and the reasons of their way of thinking. At the same time this exercise will make us think deeply about our own way of thinking and our motivations. By acknowledging the differences, we become more capable to later understand other situations of the same kind.
A tolerant dialogue could be respectful or disrespectful. Apparently there is no difference, but in depth there is. When tolerance comes together with respect, we consider everybody’s freedom. When there is disrespect, we only look to defend our freedom without considering others’.
Tolerance and freedom are a difficult, but necessary mix to conform solid basis for social coexistence. When they come together, we facilitate the capability of interacting with those who present different ways of approaching things and solving problems. At the same time, having this attitude does not exclude the capability of analyzing others’ approaches to evaluate which ones are better. This way we can establish a calm dialogue, because besides tolerating others we also respect them. Respect allows us to have the benevolence of providing opinions in a good way. The respect carries on to the person we are talking with, who is also capable of listening those things he does not agree with due to the sincere interest we are showing to him.
Tolerance without freedom shows a spatial position, because it looks to potential my own freedom but not my partners’. This is shown when a party wins the argument, becoming intolerant, imposing his will; he has already won, so he does not care about the other party.
Many times, tolerance is used as a tactic to impose what I want. Others can do whatever they want, who cares: I am not interested on them; I just want to impose my will. This position lacks respect. There is no dialogue. I only listen because I am looking to get something out of the situation. The expression “up to them” comes out typically in these types of occasions. People do not interfere, because they want to avoid problems. They do not care about the other people; they just want them out of the way.
Consequences from permissiveness vary. One is to wish total independence without maintaining links. The people doing this become egocentric. They are in danger of dissociate mentally and affectively from the people they love. This is dramatic on individuals with high-performance standards, because it might lead them to think they are above others, not listening to any advice. Morally, they make their own rules. Because they lack orientation, they can fall into costly mistakes, defending immorality as a way of acting and solving problems. Anyhow, as we all have a socialized nature, breaking with others leads us to feel bad internally, which make these people uncomfortable with themselves.
When tolerance becomes absolute without having valid references, its result is permissiveness. Only the tolerance mixed with true freedom, the one that shows mutual respect, can become a practice that will enrich our individual and community life.
Respect is not reached spontaneously though; it demands cultivating our intelligence and, most of all, our heart. The intelligence is needed to understand the different ways in which problems can be solved, to analyze what causes a mistake, distinguishing it from the actions required to amend it. The heart makes us share the joy of the people who win and the devastation of those who can’t overcome a mistake. It is essential to help these last ones in the effort to change and walk through the paths of the good. This becomes even more important when I am the one who has made the mistake.
Ana Teresa López de Llergo
La frase del día