There seems to be two main types of people out there:

“The Mainstreamers”

They trust that the systems and beliefs put in place by the general public are to be trusted. They believe that these things win the general vote because these things are correct. They trust the experts. Doing their own research is not worth their time, and may just end up misleading them anyways (since they are not “the experts”).

“The Questioners”

These people believe in doing their own research before making any significant decision. They acknowledge that society is capable of putting practices in place for the wrong reasons. Likewise, systems and beliefs followed by the general public can be outdated. “Experts” are still human with all their biases, so advice is taken with a grain of salt. Everyone is responsible for thinking for themselves.

The Lives of the Two

Mainstreamers tend to judge Questioners harshly. They do not understand why these people continue to disrupt the balance, and won’t step back in line. To a mainstreamer, it is so obvious what the right answers are, and they have all of society backing them up! Many believe Questioners should be forced to comply with the standard.

Questioners are constantly shifting and working to improve the way they live their life. As life goes on, they continue to notice more and more aspects of their lives that they have not yet questioned. Those aspects are then researched, and the research often leads to change. They are very aware of the mainstream view of them, and often fly under the radar, finding their support from other Questioners.

Funnily enough, in my experience, the conclusions of the Questioners are often very similar to each other, even though their thought process is based off of exploring all possibilities.

If you are a Questioner, you most likely relate to many of the following:

Natural focused
Eco friendly
Attachment parenting
Gentle parenting
Elimination communication
Alternative medicine
No (sham)poo
No makeup
Freebirth / Homebirth

(And probably others I haven’t thought of…)

Also worth noting, is that while many Questioners share beliefs, they still seem to be much better (in general) at being accepting of people with completely different viewpoints, then the average Mainstreamer.

This would seem logical though, given Questioners are already predisposed to the concept that the right answer is not always obvious, and that the right answer today might not be considered the right answer tomorrow. Besides, what Questioner wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to explore another concept they hadn’t considered!

Of course, these are all generalisations. I have met Questioners who judge others of a different perspective very harshly. Likewise, I have met the odd Mainstreamer who has been completely non-judgemental to alternative views. And of course, there are people who transcend the two types in various different ways. I’m only listing the trends.

Either way, we have a problem.

The world is at war at the moment between these two groups of people. The Mainstreamers, who want the Questioners to stop rocking the boat, and the Questioners, who want their personal freedoms and choices recognised.

And the biggest reason for the conflict? There’s no safe place for communication between the sides!

Time after time, I’ve seen cases where Questioners try to share their opinion out loud to the general public. And the result? 10/10 times they get beaten down – insulted, ridiculed, and labelled as a threat to the general accepted view. Then with experience, they learn not to share anymore.

How can anything be fixed, when Questioners aren’t allowed to bring their concerns to the general public? Mainstreamers will continue to make their assumptions of why Questioners act the way they do, and Questioners will continue to feel threatened and oppressed. When one side of the argument is suppressed, no joint conclusions can be reached.

We need to acknowledge each other as fellow humans just trying to make the best decisions with the information we have. And we all need to learn to listen to each other with a kind and empathetic ear, ready to compromise, while allowing for freedoms of perspective and choice.

Until that happens, we continue to live in a world filled with fear on both sides. A world where, given the right seeds of compassion, we could instead learn SO MUCH MORE from each other then we do today.