Poles Apart

Poles Apart 150 150 Ben Coker

Poles Apart

‘Whose side are you on?’

Whatever time in history, be it far distant, quite recent or even current, there always seem to be at least two ‘sides’.

It’s the way we’ve set up our culture and society for reasons which are somewhat obscure and may be difficult to handle, but I’ll attempt to explain.

The answer to the question above is not as simple as it might seem.

Potential answers are:

  • I’m on ‘Side A’
  • I’m on ‘Side B’
  • I don’t care, or I’m not taking sides on this
  • I’m on my side – whatever is ‘best’ for me.

There are possibly a few more but here’s the thing.

There doesn’t seem to be an option to be on ‘both’ sides or on all sides, to take a holistic point of view on whatever is going on, to see both sides of the argument and to support elements of both sides.

If you and I are not supporting Side A or Side B we can ‘sit on the fence’ and observe dispassionately or we can turn our back on the situation and look after our own interests.

It’s only a few brave people who will stand up and look at both sides of the coin – see both arguments for what they are and attempt to mediate the matter.

Independent arbiters like this, referees, umpires and so on are often criticized by both ‘sides’ and ignored as ineffectual by the ‘others’.

It’s easier where there are strict rules of the game as on the sports field but even they are often ‘open to interpretation’ and depend on spur of the moment decisions – hence the increasing use of technology to confirm the decision made by the referee or umpire according to the rules.

But in politics (and I include religion in politics) there are no strict rules that override both ‘sides’ in an argument – each side will have its own rules, its own ‘evidence’ its own interpretation of the ‘facts’ (true or otherwise) about the case.

Arbitration in disputes rarely leaves both ‘sides’ satisfied, let alone happy, because in the end to ‘settle’ the argument or dispute, compromises have to be made and all that does is to get the issue out of the limelight until it rears up again at a later date.

But how have we found ourselves in this adversarial society?

There is only one ‘humanity’

(It goes further than that but that’s another story)

As Neale Donald Walsch explains in ‘Conversations With God’ – “There is only One of Us”.

This is difficult for most people to understand as for you and I and everyone else to experience their own ‘lives’ we have been ‘individuated’ and see ourselves as individual elements making up ‘Us’ – Humanity.

This had led to the paradigm of dichotomy.

The paradigm of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘them’ and ‘us’ and even ‘you’ and ‘me’.

And it shapes our understanding of the world with ‘far and near’, ‘rich and poor’, big and small’, ‘up and down’ and ‘male and female’.

As a society, as the human race, we are obsessed with this binary thinking – it has to be one or the other.

We struggle with the concept of spectrum – the gradual transition between one thing and another.

Even considering the visual spectrum between ‘black’ (no colour) and ‘white’ (all colours) we have to identify ‘colours’ not as a gradation but as specific points on a scale and it’s the same with everything else.

In three-dimensional thinking and physics, we can just about handle it.

How high, how small, how far, how rich? and so on.

But what about how intelligent? how civilised? how educated? how charismatic? and how male or female?

We have an obsession with measurement, and we become frustrated when there is something that we cannot measure or haven’t discovered a way of measuring.

We don’t like to see the spectrum as it is – we have to break it up into finite chunks and then create artificial boundaries between them.

When ‘exactly’ does yellow become green and green become blue? (Answers on a postcard please.)

Everything is energy and energy is everything so at exactly what frequency of vibration does it change from one thing or experience into another?

Because we, as humans have lost the capacity, not to have an understanding of this, but to turn it into a practical framework for our lives, we have resorted to different levels of ‘black and white’, ‘on and off’ thinking.

Sure, we sometimes recognise that there are fifty shades of grey – but we still have to know ‘which one’ we are in at any given moment or in any given situation.

So we have invented right and wrong, good and evil, and every other bipolar description of our world down to male and female and black and white.

There is no ‘dark side’, there is no ‘wrong’. They are inventions we have created so that we can indulge our obsession with comparison.

That one thing is better than another, some people are good and others bad and so on.

And of course, ‘we’ always align ourselves on the ‘positive’ side of the equation.

Those people who do things that ‘society’ in general has decided are wrong, criminal, or evil – or even just plain stupid, still believe that they are right, they are the ‘good guys’ and everyone else is in the wrong for criticizing or stopping them from doing what they believe is the right thing to do.

I said this might be hard to grasp but as long as we continue to implement this cultural and societal framework, this binary dichotomy paradigm, there is no hope for a further evolution of humanity through the realization that We are all One.

The first step though for you and I is to start to look at things like we look at a rainbow – a spectrum – seeing all the ‘points of view’ merging into one – or at least seeing both sides of the ‘story’.

What’s on your spectrum of view today?