I aspire to be neutral ~

I was on a panel the other day – a Shift Network event talking about Media in a Changing World – and of course I know nothing about media, and even less about the changes that are happening in this world we inhabit at this point in time.

But I found myself talking about the divisions that are separating us at this moment, and how the media seems to be echoing those divisions.

We seek out the media that supports and reinforces our world view.

Now, is that smart?
No, but it feels good, right?

My side is right and the other side are a bunch of morons and they’re not only wrong, they’re criminally insane and they’re screwing up the world.

See what I mean? How can we ever evolve towards a higher state of consciousness if we come from that position?

I aspire to neutrality.
I really do.

If I ever achieve a neutral point of view I will regard that akin to enlightenment.

Neutrality doesn’t mean you don’t care.
It doesn’t mean you don’t have a point of view.
What it means is that you can see things from various perspectives.
It means you’ve stepped outside your particular “echo chamber.”
It means that you have come to a point of existential realisation that none of it, in the end, really matters.

As Jackson Browne said:
Nothing survives, but the way we live our lives.

If you can be neutral it means you don’t get caught up in all the unnecessary carry-on that so often dictates so much of our lives. (Underline the word: unnecessary.)

I’ve learned over the years I won’t change someone else’s strongly held beliefs by espousing my strongly held beliefs. It’s never happened. All it’s done is create acrimony, disharmony, immeasurable discord and caused me to unfriend them on Facebook.

I aspire to be neutral.
I really do.

I aspire to being able to sit at a dinner part table and listen to conversations that at other times in my life would have driven me to stab someone in the eye with an oyster fork.

I aspire to watching a political debate and not, at some point, standing up and shouting “IDIOT!”

I aspire to a time when, while driving and I see a car in front with a bumper sticker for a particular politician that I believe should stand trial for Crimes Against Humanity, I no longer feel an uncontrollable urge to plant my foot on the accelerator and rear-end them into a cement roadside barrier.

I aspire to be neutral.
I really do.

7 thoughts on “I aspire to be neutral ~

  1. Dear Bill
    I’m going to have to wait until after our current presidential election to be neutral. Too much at stake to be neutral right now.


  2. I always keep an eye on “how the other side thinks”, though really I’ve stopped being neutral instead of switching towards neutrality.

    Neutrality as such is of course becoming more and more difficult in this radically polarised environment. I find that in some areas where I am fairly neutral, I end up being attacked by the partisans of both “camps”.

    But even if one remains partial in one’s views, it’s always a good idea to keep an open mind towards the opposite opinions, because good ideas can be found there — and also because one day this culture war will end, and a peace will need to be rebuilt.


  3. I experienced a lot of this when I was an agnostic — and I was an honest and open one, not someone trying to hide an atheism behind an abstract intellectual fig-leaf.

    People would continually demand that I clarify “my” position according to their own ideas ; and they tended to be annoyed when I answered, “I don’t know”.

    Towards the end of my agnosticism, it became : “Do you believe in God ?” ; “I don’t know.”

    There is great value in claiming ignorance of things you do not know, including about yourself.

    And deep down — learning is only ever made possible by the acknowledgement of one’s own ignorance.

    But I could never look at the desire for Truth as being neutral.


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