In my sociology class, we are going over classical theory and the "founders" of sociology. Each thinker has formed their definition of society, interactions, and how to study it. One person in particular is Auguste Comte who lived during the time of the French Revolution. Don't worry, this isn't a history lesson. I am going to talk about bias and conflicting beliefs between people and how they work together to shape society, not break it. In Comte's view, society was in need of order and progress. Again, he lived during the French Revolution and saw this event as chaotic without understanding the implications of the revolution. People did not protest, yell and fight, because of boredom. They wanted change. Sometimes with change comes conflict because of those differing beliefs everyone has about authority, the economy, or human rights.
Comte didn't take into account the benefit or function of other ideas and groups he saw as inferior. His narrow-minded view of a future society also did not account for conflict or the role they play in a society. He foresaw humans as living in harmony in a deterministic world where humans are rational and make the "right" decisions. He fails to realize how other beliefs function in and create society. He claimed the French revolution was chaotic, but doesn't address the reasoning. In fact, contrary to his thinking, there was order and progress within that movement.
Comte also refused to read other thinker's writings because he thought they would taint his view. It's important to stay open-minded and embrace difference of ideas. Analyzing situations from another point of view gives you insight. Fills in the gaps even. You can agree to disagree and hold on to your opinions, but don't invalidate others. Don't allow bias to cloud your judgment. Consider everyone's truths. Realize there are so many different lives that are being lived which means billions of different experiences. How can your one view of the world be the ONLY valid view? It's not possible. Embrace difference. There is nothing wrong with conflicting beliefs. It becomes an issue when people allow those beliefs to clog their ears and not hear others. It's not about getting someone on your side. It's about respecting each other's differences. That's how society works!
*1st photo by Kyle Glenn and 2nd photo by Ethan Weil on Unsplash.com
Reference: Ritzer, George, and Jeffrey Stepnisky. Classical Sociological Theory. SAGE, 2018.
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