Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.

10.07.2015

Political Moralities

Often it seems those at opposite ends of the political spectrum don't just see things differently and speak different languages, but live in entirely different realities.  And, man, does that make us seem messed up to each other.  I'm just as biased in favor of my reality as the next person, and it seems like I have to fight outrage and disbelief nearly every day.  Nevertheless, I'm committed to trying to bridge the gap enough that we can have civil discourse, listen to and learn from each other, and try to find enough common ground that most of us feel at least partly represented by our policies.  I may get my explanations of the right wrong with my view from the left, but I try to understand.  Here's another frame.

In my last post, I considered the idea that those on the left focus on cross-pollination and the right on self-reliance in fighting for policy positions.  That's the positive attribute each works from and hopes to encourage.  The morality of each has a negative, as well.  At the heart of almost any position taken on an issue, underneath the surface manifestation, is generally one of two ideas:


These don't seem like necessarily opposing ideas, yet most of the time they are and one supersedes the other in an advocate's mind.  Take welfare, for instance.

On the left is the thought that it's wrong to not help others in need.  "They" could be "me" in different circumstances and I would want the help, we're all stronger when we look out for each other, a bit of assistance will help them get back on their feet and contributing again.  Even more than the logic and arguments is simply a gut feeling that it's wrong not to help.

On the right is the thought that it's wrong to need the help of others.  Those asking for welfare are not working hard enough, haven't done everything they should, are responsible for their own failures.  Even more than the logic and arguments is simply a gut feeling that it's wrong to need the help.

Cross-pollination vs. self-reliance.  We should help each other vs. we are responsible for ourselves.  Take nearly any issue you can imagine, and it can be framed in these terms.  Try it.

[Rant withheld on why it's wrong to think it's wrong to need the help of others (for now).]

And the next time you're frustrated with the incomprehensibility of those on the other side of an issue, try using this frame to at least understand them.  Not necessarily agree or even appreciate, but at least understand.  Maybe it will help us gain enough insight to make out the good intentions of the other side and comprehend each other enough to see some kind of common ground.  I fail as often as not, but it's what I try to do.

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