“Everyone’s a pacifist between wars. It’s like being a vegetarian between meals.”
I’m not sure we can help eaves-dropping in certain circumstances. This is especially the case when we’re trying to have a quiet meeting in an office and adjacent in another office are two people—colleagues—squaring off in a respectful disagreement about where a good place to live is.
One of these people was defending their choice to live where they’ve chosen to build. The other can’t see the sense in it and can’t help themselves in venturing an opinion. Of all the side-taking, neither party seems to know that it’s not really a case of being right or wrong. Our views just are—they are rarely absolutely right or absolutely wrong.
The amazing thing is the longer the person building their house tried to justify their view the more ridiculous their case became and the more stubborn the other person became in clinging fast to their view on the issue.
Both parties polarised to their fast-opposing sides and stuck there as if there was some incredible centrifugal force flinging them there. Imagine for a moment, this is just one single interaction for these two.
‘My Way or the Highway’
How many wars and disagreements are constructed over an opinion that just has to be held by everyone?
Here we see people who are just simply bent on having everyone see the world through their own viewing glass.
And we’re all lulled into it from time to time depending on the costs, personally, of giving way to others and their viewpoints—as if it’s a competition we’re in.
But by doing this we miss out on a better way.
Opening Closed Eyes
It is far better to understand that there are billions of potential viewpoints—some wise, some foolish, and there are very many in between.
The next time we’re ‘forced’ to defend ourselves and our viewpoints, perhaps we could get a chilling grip of sense fold over us, shutting down our silly trade and the false wares we’re peddling. In clinging steadfastly to our views we, by our methods, are wrong—not the other person and their view.
The most important ‘right’ view is simply to enter all relational situations with an open mind, prepared to listen with an open heart.
The matters at the centre of our arguments and discussions are quite often immaterial if we miss the point that we’re dealing with fellow human beings who we can easily hurt.
Hurting people of itself is a folly. We are better than that.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.