Being able to handle disagreement without switching into “defending against the threat of death” mode.
Being able to handle disagreement without, once switched into that mode, manipulating words and ideas to make it seem like every disagreement is a matter of life and death. (Because, if you twist it enough, anything anyone says in disagreement with you can be twisted into a threat against your very existence and the very existence of everyone like you. But you’re twisting it to get there, whether you’re doing it consciously or not.)
Being able to work with people who disagree with you, on subjects that are, temporarily or permanently, more important than your areas of disagreement.
Being able to work with people, in true catastrophes and emergencies and impending catastrophes and emergencies, who really do hold views that threaten your life… but being able to do it, because you understand that if they have their way on that one issue then you’re dead, but if you two don’t work together then you all may die, and you have to, have to, prioritize sometimes, even when it means horrible things like that. Or you’re dead, and so am I, and so is the jackass we’re working with, and none of the details matter anymore when we’re all dead.
Being able to differentiate true life and death issues, from issues that may sometimes be life and death and may sometimes not, from issues that are not life and death except in rare instances or in ways that require elaborate amounts of mental gymnastics to understand.
I’m not saying things never matter. I’m saying some things matter more than other things, and that matters. And I’m saying that your fight-flight reflex (among other split-second emotional reactions) is not always an adequate measure of whether something matters, and how much it matters. Sometimes it has something to say. Sometimes it just adds to the problem. Context matters.
Recognizing context and how it affects everything.
Doing all this without falling into the opposite trap.
These are all things I’ve been thinking about and trying to write about for a while.
It’s really, really hard. All of this is confusing to sort out.