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The Time Is Right For a Tolerant Society

Our population, and with it the professional world, is in the midst of a reform. Various currents are forecasting change and calling for a fundamental rethink. Instead of keeping our heads down, it’s time to open up.

From Bernie Tewlin, September 2023

This article was originally written in Geman.

“[…] It’s literally impossible to be a woman.[…]” America Ferrera’s monologue in the film Barbie doesn’t just get under your skin – it hits right to the heart. In the blazing indictment, she shouts out why women can never live up to the demands of society. The injustice and anger of centuries of oppression is palpable. This example perfectly captures our zeitgeist. Not a day goes by without a debate online or in person about social trends such as “wokeness” or the “climate movement,” to name just two. In the world of work, the needs of different generations, but also equality and fairness are at the center of attention, causing many managers to despair.

The progress of society cannot be stopped

As polarizing, intense or emotional as these currents may seem: They are not new. If we take a look at the periods of history, we find countless conflicts and revolutions. Always at the center: power and oppression – who calls the shots in society and how should it be ordered? Important factors for the steady step into a more modern world are also education and technology. Access to knowledge and the ability to disseminate new findings to the world create the basis for broad social progress. Through communication, ideas and needs reach the minds of those who think alike or differently and stimulate discourse.

Know yourself

When we look for the cause of our personality development, we end up with reflection. This gift is not self-evident. Homo Sapiens has evolved over the last 300,000 years or so from primitive man to today’s individual with better thinking skills and imagination. While until 300 years ago the majority of us were convinced that God alone held the strings, the Enlightenment in the 18th century taught us the existence of the mind and reason. “Cogito ergo sum” – “I think, therefore I am,” as the philosopher René Descartes beautifully summarized. This new self-awareness has continued to evolve to the present day, with us recognizing ourselves more and more – with all our abilities and diversity. Even if some still do not want to admit it, the fact is confirmed: humans are diverse.

Heroes with emotional intelligence are in demand

Diversity is not a figment of the imagination. It is quite simply a part of who we are. That’s why it’s everyone’s job to acknowledge, allow and respond to diversity in the best possible way. This is especially true for those of us with a role model function – be it political, corporate or social. This requires the increasingly important qualities of social competence, listening, trust and tolerance. Of course, the respective social or economic environment sets the limits of realization. It is time to accept the current trends and to respect others as they are. In doing so, we not only show appreciation. Rather, we accept ourselves and the fact that we live in a modern and diverse world in which change cannot be stopped. Or does anyone still believe that the earth is flat?