80 Years Ago Today Proves Friendship is Always Possible

“December 7, 1941; a day that will live infamy,” as President Roosevelt immortalized it before Congress the next day. The Japanese Empire conducted a surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and airfields around Oahu.

Roosevelt characterized the attack as “sudden” “determined” and “dastardly.” True enough it was.

Nearly four years later, embittered by years of hard war and the memory of December 7, The United States became the first and only nation to use atomic weaponry when it leveled the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

History looks at these events through a standard lens. I’d like to shine a different light on them today by asking a non-standard question. Why don’t The United States and Japan absolutely despise each other?

There are peoples on this planet who have maintained a violent and hate-filled relationship for far longer than 80 years and with far less reason to do so than these two nations. Instead, you’d be hard-pressed to find two nations that are closer friends or allies today.

It could be argued, with some validity, that decades of economic cooperation and now a common perceived threat in China have knitted these two countries together.

Yet, we should not diminish the significance of how two countries who did grievous harm to each other found a way to become friends.

This relationship puts to shame the excuses people have for maintaining their bigotry and anger at each other whether within nations or among nations.

Today you can visit Pearl Harbor, as I have multiple times, and sit in the documentary about December 7, 1941. You’ll find a crowd largely made up of Americans and the ever-present Japanese tourists in Hawaii. Together we sit in peace and friendship remembering one of the three days that bookmarked four years when our two nations exacted horrific costs upon each other.

Our friendship is an astounding achievement and one that can and should be replicated the world over.

Wherever you are on your journey today, may you find the strength and the courage to open the door to friendship.

Ray

Are You an Open-Minded Person? – Day 250 of 365 Days to a Better You

I did a recent poll on my Twitter and Facebook account asking if people consider themselves an open-minded person. Not surprisingly, the results came back with 78 percent of people claiming the open-minded mantle.

Being open-minded or seen to be open-minded is generally considered a positive trait in our society and one most people readily claim. You always get the person, when you ask a question like this, that quotes the old phrase, “Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.” That aside, most want to be seen this way.

Here’s my question for you (and me) today. Are you truly open-minded?

The phrase is defined by Dictionary.com as “being open to new ideas, unprejudiced.” Merriam-Webster defines it as, “receptive to arguments or ideas.”

We human beings have a tendency to hold onto our cherished beliefs about the world against all facts. Are you truly open to ideas that might question your religious faith? Are you receptive to ideas that might change your political ideology? Do you really judge every idea on its merits and put aside previous biases?

The fact is no one does or probably can remain open-minded 100 percent of the time. We’d be shifting our paradigms by the moment as more information arrived and we’d find it hard to live our lives.

That said, it is useful to sincerely gauge your level of openness to new ideas. Do you really listen to new ideas or ideas that question your paradigms or do you immediately dismiss, attack, and become argumentative in defense of your cherished ideas? Do you really measure your beliefs against the bar of your current knowledge or do you hold onto them because “that’s what we’ve always believed?”

This leaves many of us with a kind of cognitive dissonance between how open we believe we are and how open we actually are?

Here’s my challenge to you against the backdrop of a culture deeply divided by paradigms with wide gulfs and little understanding. Can you push yourself a little bit more? Can you hear the other person out before you automatically decide you disagree? Can you facts-test your beliefs once in a while? Can you give a little ground on the idea that your side has the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

If you can do that and I can do that and enough people in our culture can do that, healing and more dialogue are possible. Change that serves everyone can be achieved.

No pressure, but this is one of those things that really starts with you. If you’re waiting for your proverbial “them” to be more open first, you may wait a long time. Someone has to show the glimmer of enlightenment. Let it be you and me!

Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by. I hope today’s post spoke to you. If so, please consider sharing it with a friend or two.

Have a great Friday!

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s been studying and practicing personal development for 30 years. He’s also studied many of the world’s spiritual traditions and mythologies.

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