Today I came to a realization regarding our moral, ethical and political ideologies.
Recall the poem “The Blind men and the Elephant” by John Godfrey Saxe. Six blind men are examining an elephant and each is adamant of his experiential findings. The last verse says it all.
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong.
Though each was partly in the right,
They all were in the wrong!
Now before you go any further, examine this bit of reflection from—of all places— a 1966 western movie, The Professionals.
“Maybe there’s only one revolution, since the beginning, the good guys against the bad guys. Question is, who are the good guys?”
And therein lies the rub. Aside from the fact that we each approach the current situation in Washington wearing the filters of our respective human experience, we also approach one another with conflicting understandings of good versus evil. From this perspective, we come to debate and argue, each with the intent of winning over the other guy. And for the most part, each will fail.
We can’t even agree on right from wrong! And in our efforts to win each other over through seemingly benevolent discussion, we vehemently entrench ourselves ever deeper into our private realities, ever bending our arguments to protect what is ours, rather than admit it might not be entirely accurate. Nice going.
I knew we were in trouble when I saw the exact same news story concerning President Trump being shared on Facebook by both a pro-Trump advocate and an anti-Trump detractor. The same story! And when I realized they couldn’t both be right, it occurred to me that the only sure thing in this equation was the conflict itself. That was real.
Wake up. You cannot win with the arguments you are making. In this regard, you are no better than one of the blind men in that poem. In fact, you are worse because at least the blind men were all of a like mindset.