Tolerance and intolerance


by javaneh29

I started with some vague thoughts about all the intolerance on IC, and decided that what happens on IC is in fact a reflection of what happens in larger world. After some cerebral meandering I decided that intolerance is a human condition be it about food, disease, attitude or practice. It comes in all shapes and sizes, personal, group, national, international. It’s a huge area open for debate.

So I thought about tolerance. To tolerate something implies certain reluctance somehow, a limitation in endurance: it implies a suffering of or allowance of something which is not wholeheartedly accepted. Maybe that’s better than intolerance which seems at all levels to be destructive and ultimately self defeating.

There seems, once you start to think about intolerance and tolerance, a huge chasm in between the two. It’s actually quiet difficult to find a comfortable place to perch.

We all want justice in our lives on a micro and macro level. If we want justice we should tolerate the intolerant and then if we are tolerant, do we have the right to complain when we ourselves are not tolerated? I guess not.

However to preserve our tolerant and just beliefs, society, religion, culture etc… we have to have some rules, I think in society we would call it law which is supposed to be objective and there is an expectation that the intolerant will abide within those boundaries so as not to endanger the tolerant or, forfeit their rights when they cross those boundaries. But then to apply the full weight of ‘justice’, even the intolerant have some rights…. to freedom of expression for example and so we begin to apply different rules for different people.

So I came to the conclusion that the whole area of tolerance and intolerance is more conflict ridden and controversial than I first thought and I am no closer to an answer than I was before I began to think about the intolerance on IC.

As I wrote at the beginning, it’s a human condition. And I’m left wondering what if I don’t want to be tolerant of those who are intolerant and I become one of the intolerant? What happens to me then because I do want justice in our web community.

So for now, I’m going to stick with where I was and whatever I have to say, I will endeavour to say it with as much graciousness and thoughtfulness as I muster even when I really don’t like what I’m reading.



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by javaneh29 on

Yes I agree with you ... tolerance is passive. Whilst acceptance feels less so.


ex programmer craig


by ex programmer craig on

I think we all have a right to expect tolerance and to reject intolerance. Nobody has an obligation to be tolerant towards the intolerant! In my view, tolerance is nothing more than staying within your bounds, whether you approve of something/someone or not. When somebody is being intolerant, they have already crossed somebody else's boundaries and so there isn't any moral imperative to respect THEIR boundaries. That's the way I look at it, anyway.

And I do agree with you that acceptance is an entirely different thing. Acceptance is not necessarily approval, but it's at least a tacit "permission" for people to be the way they are or to have the opinions they have. The implication with acceptance is that even though you don't approve of somebody else's behavior, it doesn't bother you. The implication with tolerance is that their behavior DOES bother you, but you've decided not to try to do anything about it.

That's all just my own understanding of the concepts, based on nothing! But that's what I'm going with :)


che khabar e

it goes something like this...

by che khabar e on

"do not not permit tolerance to degenerate into indifference."

And you're right... it's a human condition.  One thing you CAN say about IC... there is zero "indifference".  :-)

and that is a good thing.

I like this Javaneh.  You seem introspective today!

rosie is roxy is roshan

Yes and no. 'To tolerate', as a verb

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

So I thought about tolerance. To tolerate something implies certain reluctance somehow, a limitation in endurance:

'To tolerate' as a verb does imply that. 'I can't tolerate your nagging' or 'I somehow manage to tolerate his nagging, but you know, it's sooooooo draining on me'. Within this context of 'tolerate' as verb, the noun form has the same connotation: 'I really appreciate your tolerance of the situation' or 'This is really beyond toleration'.


Outside of this context, 'tolerance' is pure. It is about the will to choose peeace over war, unity or divison, love over hate.

Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Quakers, Jesus Christ, Bahaullah, Bertrand Russell and Robert Oppenheimer (both atheist, one participated in building the atom bomb and felt really, really sorry), all taught and tried to live tolerance.

We can notice that many deeply spiritual people have been responsible for the teaching of tolerance in the world. However here 'nothing is Sacredism'  is the ideology, and spirituality is often rejected, sometimes even sneered at, and the spiritual voices can be ignored or even driven away, due to the Iranian allergy to religion these past thirty years.

What do we as individuals try to live with and teach here? 'To tolerate' or 'tolerance'? Mostly just to tolerate, and on this VERY limited medium, THE WHOLE INTERNET, for real human communication, 'to tolerate' will very soon explode most of the time, guaranteed.

Without a complete commitment to overcoming these limitatons OF THE MEDIUM ITSELF, onsite and when necessary, offsite, this website will never be a vehicle for tolerance. Where it really matters. Where the bombs drop and the tortures happen.

For the most part, this commitment does not exist here. And every day, out of sheer force of habit, it grows less and less.