Give Intolerance a Chance

I once heard of a lady who left her husband after thirty years of marriage. She was tired of his nasty attitude and controlling behavior. When he realized she was serious about leaving, he told her, “You won’t be able to make it on your own. All these things I’ve done for you — how will you do them yourself?” To which she reportedly replied: “That’s precisely my point. You are so undesirable to be around that I’d rather be thrown into the world helpless than spend another day living with you.” And that was that.

This is the attitude that everyone ought to have towards unpleasant behavior: A refusal to tolerate it. If people guilty of intolerable behavior were simply not tolerated by anyone around them, they would likely change. If they didn’t change, then they’d be isolated and on their own, which is just fine for everyone involved. The prevailing ethics of civilization has been “Love others unconditionally” and “Always forgive.” Is it any wonder that human history has been filled with war, dictatorship, control and dysfunctional marriages and families?

I say it’s time to give intolerance and unforgiveness a try. They would work a lot better than what humans have attempted up to now.