Just a single topic this week, because it has been a hectic one.

Right and Wrong

In a couple of places online this week I got involved in debate which got quite animated. In one case it seems I touched a nerve which caused me not to back pedal so much as walk back the weight I was putting into my argument. It was I who had first seen red and set up a conflict of views, and upon review I think I went a little too much into fight mode when a defensive tone would have been more appropriate. By which I mean “I have a different view on this and here’s why” instead of “You’re wrong because…”

I try to be fair and balanced in my debating but, I suspect like many people, I am sometimes guilty of losing sight of the point of my disagreement in an effort to list off the many reasons why I think I’m right. As such I’m used to walking back my arguments and trying to cut to the core of my disagreement in a conciliatory tone. It is in that phase that I like to remind myself of something I dreamed up years ago after listening to two politicians arguing on the telly. It is published elsewhere on this web site but I have reproduced it below for your convenience.

No matter what you think, no matter what you believe, no matter your intentions, there will always be someone who disagrees.

While the only meaningful course of action is to stand up for, stand behind your beliefs, just remember that – to the other person – you’re just as wrong as you think they are.

Because there’s every chance they have the same level of conviction as you, that makes you wrong. Even if you don’t believe it.

The better person, while standing up for their beliefs, keeps an open mind.

Failure to understand this fundamental fact leads to political, cultural, ethnic and religious conflict. Conflict which gives neither party any lasting gain.

Mutual respect and understanding makes winners of everyone and leads to the best outcomes.

That concludes this edition of Echoes. The comments are open, but will be moderated for civility. Alternatively you can hit me up on Twitter, where I go by @zkarj.

Categories: Echoes


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