By Scott Shaw
I was the only customer shopping in a small boutique shop the other day. There were two employees in the shop having a heated discussion. I could not help but overhear their words. The one, a man, was stating that he believed that it was the fault of the immoral policies of the United States government that had unjustly imprisonment suspected terrorists at the prison at Guantanamo Bay and due to the harsh conditions they were forced to undergo, with no hope of a fair trail or release, that it was the fault of the United States government that some of these prisoners had committed suicide. The female employee argued that these people were simply mentally ill and, if they were not, they would have not committed suicide. The argument went back and forth with no end in sight until the man said, “Well, if you believe that, that means that you’re not a Christian.”
Throughout all levels of society this type of statement comes into play when a person is not getting their way in a conversation and/or argument. It is kind of like embracing the philosophy of, “Well, since you won’t agree with my point of view, I will simply kick you below the belt, to get my point across.”
Why is this style of dialogue added to a discussion, because from this style of rhetoric, the topic completely changes. The female employee exclaimed, “What! I’m not a Christian! No, you’re the one who isn’t a Christian!”
Ultimately this is the sad reality about opinions that equal discussions that ultimately lead to arguments—people what to talk. They want to say what they believe. They want their point to be accepted. They want everyone else to embrace their philosophy. And, they want their opinion to be accepted as RIGHT by the masses. When it is not, then the rules of discourse go out the window and it becomes every man (or women) for themselves.
The ultimate question you have to ask yourself is, “Why should I participate in this style of discourse at all?” Certainly, throughout life, we have all disagreed with what other people have said. For example, I was recently at a party in Orange County California. For those of you who are not familiar with that region of the country, it is commonly understood to be a bastion of Caucasian Republican conservatism. I was sitting with a couple of friends at a table and a person came up, sat down, and blatantly began to state as fact that the reason gas prices were going up again was because it was a secret plan of Obama. I said, “No, it is because of world market demands and the speculation of investors.” Another person chimed stating that he was expecting Armageddon to occur any day now because Obama had been elected president and Obama was destroying the way the world views the United States. In disbelief I inquired, “What do you think W. did?”
The two ultra conservatives began to exchange agreeing banter. The three liberals, myself included, got up and left the conversation.
We Each Have Our Opinions
We each have our opinion. Some of our opinions are based on fact and some are based in belief. But, most people already have their minds made up about what they do and do not believe. It is for this reason that, for the most part, intellectual discussions among people of differing mindsets rarely prove anything. For example, try to argue with a Christian, detailing the facts of the true history of Christianity to them, and you will run into a brick wall of denial of facts. First you will be told, “It is all based in faith. And, faith is what our lord expects of us.” Then, if you still carrying on the discussion, you will ultimately be told, “By the way, you know you are going to Hell for being a nonbeliever.”
This life-fact of differing opinions is the basis for all elements of conflict. So, first and foremost, before you even enter into one of these heated discussions, you have to decide, are you will to entering into a conflict. If you are, you must first understand, that conflicts only end one way—there is a winner and there is a loser. Now, the person of war may be willing to pay this price and live their life by this standard. But, this is emphatically NOT the spiritual way. The spiritual way is a path of peace and positivity—though so many so-called spiritual people forget this fact when attempting to defend their ideology.
But the debative conflict of life is much more subtle that this. At the heart of all debate is the ideology of one person who has instigated the verbal confrontation. From that one person, the debate grows and grows and grows. But, no matter how big it gets, it is based upon the ideology of one person. And, what that person is propagating is most commonly based on attacking the thoughts and actions of another person or person(s).
It is somewhat like the German term, “Schadenfreude,” which can be translated in several ways but basically it refers to the fact that a person or persons takes joy in another person’s demise or fall from grace. People who embrace this mindset look down upon the accomplishments of another and, in fact, find accomplishment a reason and motivation to denigrate and criticize people.
For whatever reason, people love to congregate in their own negativity. They love to band together and find a place where their voice of negativity can be heard and embraced. Some may say that this is a human condition. But, I don’t believe that to be the case. The only reason that a person or person(s) may relish the demise of another is based in the fact that a negatively-based person has not achieved the level of accomplishment or success they have desired in their chosen field. Or, if they have achieved a certain level of success, they feel that by bringing another person down they have become superior. But, higher and lower is all foolishness. Less or more is all a state of mind. And, less or more, higher or lower, is never a concept embraced by the truly spiritual individual.
From a personal perspective I have seen this many times. Someone will contact me being very friendly—most commonly based upon the fact that they want something from me. Then, sometime later, I will find that this same person is speaking or writing very hash things about me, most commonly based upon lies and falsehoods.
Why do people choose to behave in this fashion? Because that is the mindset they have ultimately chosen to embrace. They have entered a space of negativity. And, this goes on throughout the world constantly. Think about it, how many people have you heard speaking negatively about someone they do not even know and have never met? The problem with this mindset and reaction based mentality is all that it produces is a nonsensical waste of LIFE TIME and LIFE ENGERY.
The question to ask yourself, if you find yourself embracing a negative mentality is, “Do you feel good when you criticize others? Does it make you a better person? Does it make the world a better place?” The answer will almost universally be, “No.”
What behaving in this manner actually equals is that you are not contributing to the Greater-Good of this place we call Life. Instead, if you are following this negative level of human consciousness, you are not contributing to the betterment; you are only trying to destroy. And, destruction on any level is a negative pathway.
Think about the people you have admired. Do they follow a path of negativity or do they provide the world with a positive service? Think about the people who have made major contribution to the world. Are they negative and critical? Are they constantly involving themselves in criticism, arguments, and negative debates? No, they are probably not.
No matter what field they are in, what they do is to do what they do. They continue to learn and grow as an individual, and follow a path that leads to the betterment of the themselves and the world. They turn away from confrontations; verbal or to there wise. This is the path to making a positive contribution to the world.
In the Words
So, you enter into a space where people are embracing negative dialogue - either about a subject, a person, religions, politics, or whatever. Do you stay and take part in that? Argue your point until you make everybody believe as you believe? Does your dialogue continue until you are both so agitated that you end up in a physical confrontation? Or do you walk away? You must understand that if you remain in debate, all you are actualizing is the revamping of meaningless banter and discourse. Yes, you may have your opinion, based on fact or fiction—we all do. Yes, you may like or dislike a person who is in the spotlight, based it whatever ideology. But, as long as you are taking about them, all you are doing is adding to their notoriety. It is kind of like the fact that Andy Warhol never read the reviews written by his critics; all he did was measure how big the printed discourse was.
What this means is that you are either becoming you and becoming more. Or, you are not. If you are not, and constantly engaged in debate that all you are doing is basing your life upon the actions and achievements of other people.
You can be an armchair quarterback and talk, blog, or write, (good and bad), all you want about another person or another person’s philosophy. But, if you are doing this, all you are actually doing is paying tribute to that person. And, if you are following this life course, then you must ask yourself what does it equal and how it is causing you to become more, better, and achieve what you truly desire?
So, argue if you want. Stay in the debate if you must. Hit below the belt if that is the only way you can win an argument. But, ultimately what does that say about you? And, more importantly, if you live your life at this level, what will be left when you have exited this place we call Life. Will you have left a positive legacy? Or, simply a plethora of forgotten conversations based on opinions.
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