The world as it is today could not be more divided. There is no issue that does not have at least two opposing camps unwilling to compromise. The facts are manipulated and statistics normalised, and what is left is a haze over reality. What I have realised from looking at opposing sides is that the truth is somewhere in the middle.
My views are generally pretty close to centre, whilst leaning to the left. My curiosity on the other hands is much more extreme. I like to go left and right of centre as far and often as possible. I do this because those at the fringe are unlike me, and their difference attracts me. As a writer of fiction I also do so to build character profiles.
Time and time again I think about an issue, look at the outlets I trust and then go in search of more and more extreme views. What I have found is that there is often a kernel of truth in the rantings of even the most extreme view.
There are countless clips on YouTube of a far left person arguing with a far right and the far right person coming out the victor. The reverse is true also, but considering my left leaning this is the most interesting. What strikes me is that the left holds itself as being of fact and knowledge but really just regurgitates talking points.
Take the abortion issue, my belief is that it should be legal but it is more complicated than a women’s right to choose. If you watch pro-choice people argue their point, it is clear they often haven’t thought about it past its my right. They also haven’t stopped and thought about what the other person is saying. This is the key problem, they believe so strongly in their cause they negate opposition.
What is an incredibly complex topic is boiled down to I’m a women you have no right over my body. While this is a true statement it does not in my belief completely encapsulate the issue. That is where the failing of discussion happens. The knee jerk reaction when the far righter says there’s more to it is to either reply you’re a sexist or again its my body my rules.
In this we see the side of “tolerance” being intolerant because the other person is a male or dissenting. That is when we hit a non compromising position. The emotions of the situation rises and we as a species are all the worst for it.
Is dialogue not key to managing disagreements. As far as I’m aware my more liberal friends proclaim that we should be able to talk about all issues, and not be censored. How is this not a reversal of that?
Both sides in this case are unable to stop and understand, both sides will throw out meaningless fact. They are meaningless because the look through a narrow lens and often clip the subject.
This has become such a problem because this polarised nature only creates more polarisation. In any issue I like to think you have 3 groups. The first is for the issue at hand, they are 100% onboard and cannot be swayed. The second are those against the issue, again 100% against and cannot be swayed. Then you have the third and in my opinion most important and they are the undecided.
The undecided are who make the decisions in most cases, they usually are the majority. Now there are different variants of undecided, people closer to one side or the other. They are the middle and they are where the truth is.
Through conversation with these people, opposed to against your enemy, is where you get consensus. Having a conversation with these people creates a better political and social environment. The way we communicate now leaves only opposition as an alternative option. The undecided either gets annoyed by one side or they become disengaged. This usually leaves for uneducated and polarised individuals.
Its better to pick a side then continually hear an argument.
What can we do?
What ever your side, how ever extreme your views there is nothing more important than putting yourselves in someone else shoes. Understanding, without judgement, its not agreement but it is respect.
As an example I am an atheist, I can also put myself into the mind of someone who is religious. Understanding their thought process even though it is worlds apart from mine. It allows me to not hold a grudge and have more thought out discussions. That my comments are not issue based but reasoned.
The truth lies in the middle of spin, and if you are on either side of the argument ask yourself how true are your words. Bias creeps slowly and has a powerful hold. It is your responsibility to dismantle it yourself before you accuse others of having it.
The truth is in a death spiral, it is the fault of both sides of politics and discussion. Where will you be as the tombstone is erected? Will you be fighting for truth or against them?