Stephanie Golden is a writer, ghostwriter and editor. She is the author, most recently, of Mermaid No More: Breaking Women’s Culture of Sacrifice (2016). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Language and linguistics
We need the singular ‘they’ – and it won’t seem wrong for long
Kat O’s comment is right on–it’s critical to address the power dynamic operating in any situation. Also left out of this article, I think, is another factor: emotion. Research has shown (and raging debates on Facebook prove every day) that facts and rational argument don’t change people’s minds because they cling to their beliefs for deep-seated emotional reasons. Listening and asking questions are essential, but it’s also important to take into account and respect strongly held beliefs based on people’s world view and sense of identity.
What a wonderful article. I was surprised though that what seems to me to be common sense is subject to such debate. I practice Buddhist vipassana meditation which brings mind and heart together. Mind does not reside entirely in the brain but includes sense perceptions and emotions as well as thoughts.
I’m a Buddhist practitioner and have heard a number of meditation teachers address this issue based on the Buddhist scriptures. While I enjoyed this essay, for me the concept of ‘mystery’ is a satisfying way to resolve these paradoxes. After a teaching on how to ask questions in meditation, I commented that in my experience it felt like dropping down a well to find the answer, but the teacher said the point of the technique was not to find an answer but to fall into the sense of “wonder,’ as he put it. To me this feels very satisfying.