Tuesday, June 7, 2011

taking sides

It is easier to understand people when they take sides. You may not agree with the Ku Klux Klan or the Sierra Club, but you can understand them.

By contrast, it is harder to winkle out what is honest when someone positions himself as "taking no sides." Is he just posturing like some lazy, self-serving intellectual? Or is he stating something honest?

Of course there is always the possibility that someone may not give a shit. But that is pretty straightforward -- an understandable side of whatever the issue might be.

When I was a news reporter, one of the touchstones of the business was "objectivity," the willingness to step away from the passions of the subject and simply report the facts. It took me a number of years to realize that "objectivity" was a myth and a few more years to realize that it was a myth worth sustaining. Anyone who is as tired as I am of reading sincere but incompetent opinions on the internet will see the value of the myth.

But nowadays, as the walls mortared by the myth of objectivity crumble, I feel more reassured by the argument that takes sides. The argument may be dumb as a box of rocks, but I can understand rocks ... rocks don't pretend or make excuses.


  1. Dear Computer, I used to spend a lot of time after I broke up with my christian girlfriend to find out what is so wrong about christian and what is so right about buddhism/zen. cannot this. cannot that. sound so noble. the buddha said so. 2500 years of history cannot be wrong!

    then out of nowhere, i learnt something more fantastic than buddhism.. from an american who lived in northampton. the power of the english language.

    at a forum, a friend, whom i still find him insightful called himself a pagan buddhist. i.e. polytheistic buddhism. i went like, shoot! if he is a pagan-buddhist. i am a stupid-zenist!

    then i said, as stupid-zenist should, i believe in genkakuish-buddhism, then.

    and genkaku is already right. why? because i love him. so he is always right.


    i am wrong again! what is it about genkakuish-buddhism that i love then?

    not such a good analogy. yet. looking at the finger that points at the moon. mistake. mistake. again. and again.

    then i decided.. thank my biological dad, he gave birth to me with a full set, including a dick and two middle fingers.

    .|.. \|/ ..|.

    you know.

    i really wish to.. like ur punchline.. which kept me coming over again and again.. to just "share my laughter".

    do i love my illiterate biological dad more, or my educated make beliek dad more?

    then back to the same story. if they die one day, and they gotta come back, for some reason.. can i do something for them in advance before the day comes? if they are not coming back, fine! suits me and them!

    but what if they are coming back?

    i am so taking sides today, dad. mom said ignorance is evil.. really evill.. i went to school and got into debt. i just want to pay my bills and be around for both of you and gramps.

    but the girlfriend issue.. still no solution.

  2. Those 'sincere but incompetent opinions' are a function of identity, yes?[Don't go searching for the truth, just let those fond opinions go..] As are positions- my position isn't the product of consideration, thought and choice- it's there to validate & justify my identity. Arguments may be fun, but in the end they make no difference- a position is rigid, inflexible, exclusive- 'you're either with me, or agin' me'. Those folks who don't take sides may be looking for some other way to be-- and haven't yet discovered the distinction 'commitment' - expansive, inclusive,adaptable.

  3. We are pack/herd animals, and apply our reason to justifying that instinctive drive rather than insuring the survival in ways inclusive of others.