Is Tolerance Enough In The 21st Century?

Shouldn’t we strive for something greater, like mutual respect?

I was reading comments on the following Facebook post.

“The highest result of education is tolerance.” — Helen Keller

A Facebook user commented: “I would with all respect to Ms. Keller, tweak it to say — “The highest result of education is acceptance and mutual respect.” We got to move beyond just tolerating!”

I agreed with her and clicked “like” for her comment.

Another Facebook user commented: “Mutual respect comes from tolerance.”

Here I decided to pitch in and clarify my stance on why tolerance is not enough.

“Tolerance is the lowest level of understanding between two parties. Mutual respect is the highest level. Tolerance is just one step away from conflict. Mutual respect enables healthy interactions and harmonious living.”

He responded: “Without tolerance, you don’t have any sense of mutual respect. Tolerance is the basis of mutual respect.”

I responded: “Tolerance has a negative connotation because it gives an impression that you’re compromising or suffering internally to accommodate the other person. Whereas mutual respect allows for accepting each other wholeheartedly and embracing differences. Even if we assume that tolerance is the base of mutual respect, why aim for the lowest when you can aim for the highest? Why do the bare minimum when you can excel?”

What do you think? Do you think Tolerance is enough? Or is striving for Mutual Respect worth it?

Do let me know in the comments.

Have a good day.



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Abhishek Sainani

An aspiring writer who often juggles between his inner world, his dream world, and the real world. Writes poetry, humorous observations and opinion pieces.