On Friday, Pope Francis said that politicians should listen more, and insult others less. He said that dialogue with enemies is important to improving prospects for peace and security, which are common global values. “Insulting has become normal,” he told students at the Roma Tre campus in Rome during an improvised talk. “We need to lower the volume a bit and we need to talk less and listen more.”
Mass media can thrive on this conflict between public figures, which leads to a loss of positive change in society. Pope Francis said, “In the newspapers, we see this one insulting that one, that one says this about the other one. But in a society where the standards of politics has fallen so much – I am talking about world society – we lose the sense of building society, of social co-existence, and social co-existence is built on dialogue.”
This dynamic in mass politics whereby politicians seek to differentiate themselves through verbal denigration of the opponent carries over from domestic to international politics. In the international realm, such insults can become particularly dangerous. The Pope said, “Wars start inside our hearts, when I am not able to open myself to others, to respect others, to talk to others, to dialogue with others, that is how wars begin.”
The listening and other skills we learn in our Global Citizenship Education are critical to all other common values. In an age of increasing technologies, these time-proven interpersonal skills are the foundation for peace and security.