Embracing Contradictions

I hopped on to this site today in order to renew my domain subscription, and I thought that I would write a quick post about a thought I had within the past few weeks.

In November of last year, I read the following quote in an interview with the current chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel:

“One must expect to encounter headwinds and indignant counterarguments. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to be contradicted. I encourage everyone to express his or her opinion, but you must endure having it called into question.”

I saved this quote to my desktop, and I look at it often. I have a lot of respect for Chancellor Merkel, and I think that she is probably the best example of an ideal politician that I have experienced in my lifetime. She certainly has a way with words.

Angela Merkel was born in East Germany, and lived there for 35 years, until East and West Germany were reunited in 1990. Her life and experiences in the DDR, as one might expect, significantly impact the way she views the world.

The interview in which I read this quote took place just before the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and provides some insight into Chancellor Merkel’s perspectives.

I really appreciate this quote, because it brings attention to the inevitability that a stated opinion can spark a discussion on the basis of disagreement. I have come to really appreciate discussions like these, because they provide me with the opportunity to explain myself more, if asked, and also to learn more about the subject at hand and advance my understanding.

I don’t think that someone should be expected to change their opinion after being presented with counterarguments, but I agree with Merkel’s stance: that one should not be afraid to express her or his opinion, but they should also not fear the possibility that it will not be a shared sentiment.

0628201436c_HDR

The photos in this post are from an excursion that my river ecology class recently had at the Spree River east of Berlin. It was a lot of fun, and I loved seeing more of the Berlin-Brandenburg countryside.

Thanks for reading!

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