Comments: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

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Carla , Marble Falls TX   10/08/13
Rodney King Why Can't We All Get Along? or stop this Amygdala Hijack!!
Great article. Reminds me of what I've learned from Emotional Intelligence: that Amygdala got hijacked! I love the way you describe it!

Loly , Cuernavaca M   09/22/12
I agree with you.

Loly , Cuernavaca M   09/14/12
Adaptative from 20, 000 years ago
I found the article very interesting. Conflict arise even in families.Guess it´s difficult to overcome things that we all have had in our brains as far as 20,000 years ago.IMPO I don´t like aggressive behaviour. It´s hard when people react to threatens that are just in their minds and become agressive toward one, because of that.At least many years ago people got threaten by dinosaurs, but now a days people have become even more irrational than our ancestors.

steve , Bristol av   07/18/12
i think its time we changed our whole system we seem to care more of profit than our fellow man and the world we live in

Phil , NC     05/16/12
"The truth is that we are 98 percent emotional and about two percent rational." This is a very broad claim. Did you reach this conclusion through rational processes, or is it just some gut-feeling of yours? Is your essay based on reason or emotion? Should I believe, take as truth, conclusions based on emotion, or should I hold out for analysis based on rational experimental design, objective measurement, objective analysis, and reasoned discussion?

kraven moorehead, Los Angeles ca   04/21/11
Why not guilty
If you play the Rodney King traffic stop tape backwards, you will actually see the LAPD Officers pick Rodney off the ground, place him in his vehicle, and send him on his merry way.

Alyx Gautier, Houston TX     12/14/10
I think everyone should get along we are part of the same community. No more Gossip and Rumors please we should all get along empises on Getting Along.

daisy , Farmington nm   09/07/10
Training, habituation and commitment are an important part of our makeup. How did so many very ordinary black people during the 1950-60s Civil Rights movement in the South manage to practice nonviolence? All were threatened, some were beaten, some killed. No doubt they were mortally afraid--and sometimes very angry. But they practiced nonviolence--together. Yes, I agree with Mr. Noll that we must take into account our physiological responses to fear and anger and our capacity to be irrational. But I question the 98-2% split between rational and emotional. Genetically we're social beings and we draw strength from healthy relationships--for thousands of years these were the foundation of human survival. We CAN choose--and in our era choosing behavior that keeps us emotionally and physically alive together is a crucial element of our future.

m    11/06/07
wasn't King who said it. It was the truck driver,Reginald Denny, beaten half to death by King supporers for doing nothing. I think King was quoteoed as sayin "whay can't we all just get high, speed, and resist arrest, get released to try to kill more people"

John , Berkeley CA   05/21/07
Conservative stability?
I think you're giving conservatives marks for stability that are unrealistically high. I'm curious what these other three values are, and how they contribute to stability and survival, especially in the Middle East, to which you refer. Even with all its problems, the Middle East was a lot more stable, and far fewer people were dying, and there were far fewer organized terrorist Muslim attacks worldwide, before the first US invasion of Iraq. Bush Sr., and his Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, did a pretty mediocre job of mediation between Iraq and Kuwait by giving Saddam mixed messages about what the US would do if Saddam invaded Kuwait ( Bush and Glaspie could have made it clearer that the US would come down hard on him, but they decided to pussyfoot around the issue, in a fashion that many have interpreted as either deliberate or stupid. That led Saddam to think he could invade Kuwait without too many consequences, which led to the first Iraq war. This amped up the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. into higher gear. But that wasn't enough for the conservatives, who really wanted to get their foot in the door in the Middle East and try to do some "nation-building" (efforts that were easy to see as false, or just wrong, at creating stability), so they made up some lies, went in again, and this time instead of just sticking their hand into and then yanking it out of the hornet's nest, they yanked the nest off the tree, tore it open, and swung it around in the air. I don't know about you, but I find a hornet's nest is easier to deal with if you leave it in place, and let it either live or die out on its own, and just pick off the hornets that come after you one by one, or just close it up in a bag and suffocate it. The US under Clinton tried to suffocate Iraq, and though that worked only partially, nothing along these lines is perfect, but at least it wasn't as bad as swinging the nest around and slinging the hornets in all directions. Analogies fail somewhere around here, so I'll stop with the analogies there. It's true that nobody can "just get along" with, or mediate with, absolute no-compromise ideologues, but I'm not yet convinced that all of the jihadist Muslims fit into that category, as much as they'd like us to believe it. I don't yet think they're all beyond reach of some clever approach that might largely defuse their vehemence (even if it means, horror of horrors, that the US stop trying to remake the Middle East through military means, or subterfuge that inevitably gets discovered and leads to outrage). Certainly, many or most of the methods now used just make them stronger and multiply. That's obvious. More thinking needs to be applied to how to deal with them, and though some people think that such thinking is "wishy-washy" compared to the beautiful simplicity, and action-hero satisfaction, of blasting them back to the stone age, it just don't work. The proof is right in front of our faces. We have to figure out other ways to defuse them. Though Saddam was a monster, about whom something might have needed to be done, Bush Jr's "conservative" approach of ripping out Saddam, after lying that he was involved in the attacks on the Word Trade Center and the Pentagon, etc., shouldn't be given high marks for increasing stability, or anyone's chances for survival. Some say Bush Jr. isn't a "true conservative", and maybe that's right. But one thing is certain: he's a pretty good example of what poor mediation can result in, though worse yet, many argue that mediation wasn't his intent.

Brian , Vancouver BC   05/20/07
Answer the question
The "Why" is indeed the reactive response. Can it be switched off for both parties? The dream that it can persists, and the functional version of the King-question is thus the plea, "Can't we all just get along? Please?" Sometimes the answer is "No!". The elephant in the living room behind this discussion is the existence of a huge group of emotionally driven believers in an Islamic Umma which is ordained to become a Global Caliphate, for which any sacrifice or atrocity may and must be permitted or promoted. "Mediate" means locate the middle acceptable to both sides. AND THERE IS NO SUCH MIDDLE WITH THIS GROUP. ½ ∞ = ∞ . One cannot mediate or compromise with the Hitlers, Saddams, or Khomenis of the world. An ongoing study of the emotional roots of liberal and conservative orientations indicates that liberals give exclusive sway to empathy and avoidance of harm or pain to others. Conservatives add varying degrees of three other values to this mix, amounting to maintenance of enough stability and order to ensure survival. Sometimes rolling over and baring your throat loses you your throat.

John , Berkeley CA   09/19/06
Quote correction
Not that it really matters, but because the issue has been raised, Rodney King apparently actually said, according to Wikipedia: "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?" I wanted to hunt down the video clip in which he says this, to be sure, but then I decided I'd spent too much time on this minor detail already. It's even possible King was interviewed on another occasion too, in which his exact wording was different, and that might be what a lot of us remember. Doug's article is very insightful. I'm sure he's not proposing that just words alone can do the job, but words and action.

M. Griffy, Denver CO   07/10/06
Rodney King Plea
Larry King's sources didn't check their work. Look up "Rodney King" in the national archives, or nexus lexus search it. "Why can't we just get along," would be accurate.

Steve , Harrisburg PA   05/22/06
Moving On
It doesn't matter if words are simple or they are spoken with eloguence, but words alone won't do it. So how do you get people to get over it and move on?

fpiodg , populous az   05/22/06
word, bob

bob , richmond or   05/22/06
my thoughts on this subject. read it.
four score seven years ago our fouding fathers would have hated to see that happen. but it did. so get a life and move on. losers.

anne , santa monica ca   01/16/06
Quote Source "Can't we all just get along?"
Wasn't it Reginald Denny who after being released from the hospital with a fractured skull forgave the people who beat him and said, "Can't we all just get along?"

Mike , Chicago IL   11/27/05
Rodney King plea
Just watching CNN with Larry King and the show about notable quotes. The actual Rodney King quote is as follows: Can we....can we all get along? So unless there is another verifible version, his actual quote does not contain the words why, can't and just.

Doug Noll, Clovis CA     01/08/04
My further research shows that our brains are hard-wired to certain pre-dispositions, but are also highly plastic. That is, the totality of our cultural experience through adolescence "programs" us to conflict and peace behaviors acceptable in our family, religious, ethnic, and community groups. My sense is that the capacity for peace is present, but is modulated by brain physiology and cultural values received during childhood. The skillful mediator will understand or at least appreciate these subtle and complex dynamics while in the peacemaking process.

Jonathan , Brunswick ME   01/08/04
other reasons we can't get along
Good points, Doug. As someone who spent some years doing C.R. training with Bosnian Serbs, Croats & Muslims, and for the past 3 years with Israelis and Palestinians, I can attest to the importance of these psychological processes. Effective negotiation in ethnic conflicts MUST attend to the identity issues each side is experiencing...sometimes there are historical reasons for people's anxiety reactions, yes?