“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 an vone 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
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
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.