What’s the balance between being selfish and tolerant simultaneously?

I believe that you should treat other people as you wish to be treated, basically. That’s just the way we were brought up. Even when we got into fights in school, Mum would say “would you like that done to you?” So that’s it really.

I work in theatre and I like stories of hope; stories of people who inspire others – Martin Luther King or Florence Nightingale or whatever – to change and to live their lives in the way I want to live mine; that is, to be as kind and tolerant as you possibly can be. That’s what we have to strive for.

I don’t understand how else you should define your life. Cos otherwise the world would fall to pieces. If you can’t be tolerant of other people’s beliefs and rights then how else can you live? Otherwise everyone would kill each other. And that’s why I struggle a bit with religion, I guess. People kill each other in the name of it. And that’s not right because no one gets to determine whether you live or die.

I was sort of brought up vaguely Christian. Very vaguely. Went to Sunday school. But now I’ve given that up. Why? Because when you read about history you read about stories of people killing each other in the name of religion and that’s hard to identify with. I really do believe religion is that it provides comfort to some people. And whatever provides comfort is important. So if it makes you more tolerant then yes I absolutely believe in it for those people. I don’t think I need it to make me more tolerant. But if it works for you then you should do it.

I describe my beliefs as tolerance. I do take that too far though. The problem with tolerance is you’re basically saying, “anything goes”. And that’s really unfair because it’s bizarrely the opposite of what other people believe. So I have done things and do things that other people wouldn’t agree with. So I struggle with that because if anything goes, you’re a bit fucked aren’t you? Do whatever the fuck you want. Which is kind of awesome, for me. But maybe not for the people you love and care about.

I’m not racist or xenophobic or anything. But I’ve really hurt people in my past. And I don’t really know how to come to terms with that. Because it’s just selfishness, isn’t it? So what’s the balance between being selfish and tolerant simultaneously? I do struggle with that. Struggle with that every day to be honest.

Even talking about this now makes me feel selfish. Why do I have the right to say it? What gives anyone the right to be judgemental about anything? But then if you take that to the nthdegree, that means something like murder is okay.

I am a lot nicer than people think I am [laughing]. But I’m fine with that. I’d do anything for anyone. But they don’t need to know that.

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