Thursday, December 01, 2011

I'm Right!...no, I'm Right!

THE ADVERSARIAL SYSTEM
Christians vs Muslims; Pro-Choice vs Pro-Life; Labour vs Management; Plaintiff vs Defendant; the Good Guys vs the Bad Guys.

Whichever way you cut it, Western Society (and quite possibly the entire planet...but, since I've only experienced Western Society, I won't make any pretenses of being knowledgeable on other societies) appears to love being separated into factions and then fighting over who is Right.

...and typically, the winner of that fight goes on to claim that they were Right all along, and will continue to be Right in the future.

But the purpose of this article is to investigate, not necessarily answer, one question: is there such a thing as being "Right" ?

DELUSIONS OF RIGHTNESS
I propose that the concept of being Right is subjective, not absolute.

The best way to describe what I mean is by using a scene from an older TV miniseries called Nuremberg. This miniseries dramatized the account of the war crime trials following the defeat of Nazi Germany in WWII.

The one thing that I remember the most from that mini-series is Hermann Goring telling his fellow Nazi defendants that the only reason why they found themselves in this situation (being put on trial for War Crimes) is because they, the Nazis, lost the War.

In their own minds, the Nazis thought that what they had done was the right thing.

BALANCE (ALSO DEBATED AS THE 6TH SENSE)
For every person who thinks they are Right there's also a person who thinks they are Wrong.

Now, just because you've managed to eliminate people who think you're Wrong, does not necessarily mean that you're Right.

(the World is flat...the Sun rotates around the Earth...cigarettes don't cause cancer.)

With that being said, I find it ironic and hypocritical, that marginalized individuals will often use the same tactics, and use the same kind of language against their perceived oppressors.

This is undoubtedly part of a quest to find balance, because after all, we are often reminded of the age old rule of "eye for an eye."

...however, Gandhi once told us that "The law that says 'an eye for an eye' leaves the World blind."

MATH OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
Fortunately, there are a few bleak signs of progress.

What progress is that? ...The realization that Right vs Wrong is a Zero-Sum Game.

What is a Zero-Sum Game? ...According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary: "of, relating to, or being in a situation (as a game or relationship) in which gain for one side entails a corresponding loss for the other side."

In essence, Right vs Wrong can be represented as a mathematical equation that looks like this:

Right (+1) + Wrong (-1) = Zero

Some would say this represents Nature in its purest form, which is probably why our basic mental functions are so inclined to this type of thinking.

There's just one problem. Empathy.

EMPATHY IS OUR TRUMP CARD
Empathy is all about sharing.

Sharing our belongings, sharing our feelings, sharing our Good Will, and creating Win-Win situations...not manipulating others for our own selfish needs.

Empathy gives us the ability to put ourselves in other people's shoes and feel their pain. To understand their perspective. An aberration from Nature that no other living creature on this planet is capable of doing quite like Humans.

Personally, I'm tired of playing in a Zero Sum Game. I'm tired of fighting an unwinnable fight. I'm tired of being a part of a system that creates so much pain, stress, and drama.

If being Right means that I have to eliminate everyone who's Wrong, then count me out.

Evolution has chosen to bless me, and the rest of humanity, with Empathy and I plan on taking full advantage of this wonderful instrument.

...besides, if you never claim to be Right, you never have to tuck your tail between your legs when you happen to be Wrong.