Saturday, February 04, 2017

Why We Take Sides

Have you ever thought about why you "just can't seem to make that person see reason"? I figure it's because our nature is to pick sides. When we don't, we're accused of being "wishy-washy" or "straddling the fence." We pick sides on the playground as kids. We do it in our sports (OU vs OSU). We do it in our religions and we do it in our politics. We do it every day of our lives, in large and small ways. We (even those who deny it) follow the crowd, and the crowd follows the Alphas. Our leash is yanked by fads, fashions, and taboos. Most of the time we do it unconsciously, but sometimes we do it even when we know we're doing it. And, we tend to be "in for a penny, in for a pound", hanging on to the side we pick even when presented with compelling and objective evidence against it (think religion and politics).

On the good side, this hard-wired behavior strengthens tribal (family, friends, community) bonds and helps to ensure our survival. On the bad side, it often results in racism, prejudice, mistrust, narrow-mindedness, hatred and war. Knowing this, many of us try to avoid picking sides. We try to see the objective good and bad on all sides.
I'm not Democrat. I'm not Republican. I'm not one religion. I'm not one genre of music. I know I'll never achieve complete objectivity because I'm still attached to Mother Nature's puppet strings. However, I've learned that it's often wise to keep one's opinions to one's self. I try to follow a verse in the Bible that says, "If it offends my brother, I won't do it" (unless I just can't help myself).