“Are you willing to die on a lonely battlefield defending this position?”
The sentence the kids have hear almost as much as “choices have consequences” in our home. In this day of instant access and instant outrage, it seems we have created a world in which we must fight every battle and right every wrong whether we need to be engaged in that battle in the first place.
When you are young and idyllic, it is in your nature to want to solve the worlds problems. As you age and with fortune, grow in maturity, one begins to reflect that not every problem needs to be solved by you.
And yet it seems today everyone wants to fight every battle now. We must be enraged now. Action must be taken right this moment while we all hold the pitchforks and look to burn the witch. Never mind nuance. Consideration of the facts have little import in this momentus rush to judgement and conviction.
All because we believe in the rightness of our cause.
Belief is a funny thing. It is a popular statement today to say “my truth”. As if truth is subjective based on a persons belief of what is and isn’t a fact. But people hold beliefs about things and rather than prosecute those beliefs, hold them up to be an unassailable truth which no longer needs to be examined. To the extent those beliefs don’t harm anyone or infringe on others, they are merely the considerations of a persons ideology and life choices.
However it seems with increasing frequency, we have used those beliefs to create a composite of the world we live in and the people who take up space in it. The world is neither black or white. Rather it is various shares of grey and the inhabitants all fall along that color palette. But in our beliefs we attribute to them only one or the other color.
And I think therein lies the great danger. If you don’t believe the way I want, you as a heretic of the faith must be purged and destroyed. And so we go to battle over every single slight. Everyone who dares express a belief (because everything must be black and white) that does not agree with the idyllic belief you hold has no value. But the question that has to be asked is why. Why have we allowed ourselves to create such tribal boundaries based on a belief? Is there no consideration for a person who may disagree in part anymore?
All of this comes back to the thought of dying on a lonely battlefield defending a position. So many of these beliefs we today hold with great emotional zeal will soon fade to be replaced by the next great crusade we are determined to fight. And in it’s wake will be the destruction of so many lives and relationships we once held dear. All to win a battle that never needed to be fought had we but granted the humanity of the opposing side, or perhaps considered others may have examined the situation and simply came to a different conclusion. That grey area in life serves to provide context and nuance which allows a tactical retreat and opens the door to reconciliation and possible changing of a person’s thoughts.
I don’t know where the solution lies for the people long term. I do know the socials are harnessing the outrage and channeling that anger in a way that will not end well. To that end, all I can say is to get away from it. Deal with people individually and not as a representation of a group. But certainly, don’t fight a battle that doesn’t need to be fought.