Taking Sides

Taking Sides 150 150 Ben Coker

Taking Sides

“Whose side are you on?”

It might be worth applying the Steve Shapiro (‘Listening for Success’) formula to this sentence – repeat it five times with the emphasis on a different word each time – you get five different meanings.

Not only is this question – whichever way you say it – aggressive, but it has implications.

The first being that you and I are supposed to be ‘on’ a ‘side’, and the second that we don’t happen to be on the ‘side’ of whoever is asking.

We are constantly being encouraged, strongly or gently, to support one alternative or another, to align with one side or another, to pick one option or another – and whatever the situation, it always seems to get boiled down to you and I being given a choice between two ‘sides’.

Of course, in the vast majority of cases we don’t have to make a choice – but if we don’t, this is seen as weakness or ‘weird’ or in some other way ‘unacceptable’.

“But you must be on somebody’s side!” – being neutral is just ‘wrong’!

And, if you are ‘neutral’ you’re usually seen as being on the ‘other’ side, because if you’re not our friend, on ‘our’ side, you must be on ‘their’ side and an enemy.

Sadly, this is becoming the norm in many spheres of life.

Some sporting events (not all) are descending into this, and in so-called ‘light entertainment’ people are continually encouraged to ‘take sides’.

In academia there are often ‘two schools of thought’ where the adherents to each opinion end up on one ‘side’ or the other.

This seems to be especially true in Economics, and there is also a saying that History (his-story or her-story) is written by the ‘winning side’, putting many Historians at odds about what is true and what is not; and as for Religion, well, I need say no more.

But the area that seems to consume people on a daily basis is of course Politics.

Are you ‘for’ or ‘against’, ‘stay as we’ are or ‘change’, ‘left’ or ‘right’, ‘blue’ or ‘red’?

The problem with this of course is that it has degraded, well pretty much destroyed, the concept of Democracy which was never about universal franchise but about informed people reaching a consensus about what to do rather than leaving it to an autocrat (usually a monarch) to decide.

Modern democracy has descended to a situation where if ‘we’ win, then the ‘others’ have to do what ‘we’ say, and the process of ‘winning’ has been engineered in so-called ‘democracies’ in such a way that in the majority of cases the ‘winners’ are actually a minority of the popular vote.

‘One person one vote’ sounds good, but it doesn’t work like that due to the constituency or electoral college systems that have been put in place.

This is where the problem with ‘neutrals’ is most acute. The two sides vote, but no account is taken of those who don’t like or understand the solutions offered by either side – and this can be a significantly substantial number of people – often over a third of the population.

If you or I don’t take sides in these situations, we don’t have a say, and then we have to submit to the decisions made by the minority ‘majority’!

The problem with those of us who tend towards neutrality is that we think too much.

You and I tend to look at situations and questions and consider them, study them, research them, and, having taken into account all the (real) evidence that we have available, come up with a ‘considered decision’.

We have developed by now a ‘nose’ for the fake news, propaganda, and manipulation that goes on around us attempting to influence our decisions and are able to make up our own minds.

We employ various paradigms, frameworks and algorithms that relate to the topic or topics under consideration to reach a conclusion and maybe a decision.

But we do more than that.

The ‘set’ of paradigms, algorithms and frameworks that we use make up a ‘Thoughtform’ – a way of thinking about things that is unique to us.

No two people will have the same array of Thoughtforms; they may share paradigms and so on, but they’ll not be assembled or applied in exactly the same way by two individuals, and they’ll probably not be deployed in the same way when it comes to living our lives.

We are unique because we create different Thoughtforms.

Everyone does this, and we ‘take sides’ when our Thoughtforms are in alignment with those of others; when they aren’t we remain ‘neutral unless and until such time as we find a ‘fit’ with someone else – whatever ‘side’ they are on.

A Thoughtform is perhaps more nebulous than the individual frameworks and so on but is perhaps rather more encompassing than all of them put together.

As I’ve said previously, you and I have complete freedom to think and to create our Thoughtforms and we create them about all sorts of things.

An invention, a work of art, a project, a dream or vision, a ‘point of view’ and so on

Mary Morrissey has a saying ‘Everything is created twice’, first as a thought and then as the result of action. (I believe, although this has been attributed to several people, it first appeared in the writings of Wallace Wattles or Henry David Thoreau) But in fact this is not true, because many things are only created once – they don’t get past the thought stage.

They don’t get past the thought stage for many reasons.

Expressing the thought may be suppressed by a regime, discouraged by others (“You can’t do that”), suppressed by ourselves through lack of confidence or self-belief, or just ‘lost’ in the mass of other stuff that’s going on in our lives.

If you or I are for some reason unable to outwardly express our thoughts by broadcast or implementation as soon as we have formulated them we can at least take the first step and write them down – and people have been able to do this in the most extreme situations of oppression, so there’s no excuse not to!

Expressing that which arises from our Thoughtforms will result in one of two outcomes.

Either it will strengthen the ‘side’ we are on, or it will establish the option of an alternative or ‘third way’ in the situation in which sides are being taken.

If we say nothing, write nothing, do nothing with our Thoughtforms then there is very little point to our existence!