Lessening the Absolutes

Chess Set

To me, morals are objective, they aren’t governed by distinct rules or laws (there is no black or white) and so I find people who make blanket statements, absolutes that leave only two options, troublesome to the point of aggravating.

Over the last few years I’ve slowly been filtering out as many negative influences as I can from my life. In doing so I’ve started to see a pattern but I’m not quite sure what to call it – I’m sure there is an academic term beyond my ken for what I’m about to try and describe – but the general trend seems to be one of steering away from those with a different sense of morality to mine.

I understand that, at times, you need to be clear on where you stand on something and that the stronger the belief, the clearer the line can be for some. If I’m describing you then please know I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, but many people I’ve met are so vehemently defensive of their position that, it seems, if you aren’t on their side of the line you must be on the other side and so be in complete opposition.

The problem with this approach, statements of absolutes, is that it presumes my position and means any discussion already starts with a bias that I didn’t agree to.

I’m sure you’ve seen this yourself, the “If you don’t agree with this position then you must be agreeing with that one” mindset is what irks me the most as it doesn’t allow me to have my own, separate position; how could it when there are only two positions?

To me there are always blurry lines on most issues and whilst I may not agree with your position on something, and that doesn’t automatically mean I don’t want to hear your views, I have the right to choose my opposition.

Caution required

It’s been somewhat freeing, the slow, gentle cull of Facebook friends, the deliberate disengagement from conversations with people who will only cause me to expand energy. However it’s not without issues.

I’m very wary of being too closed, surrounding myself only with people with similar views and approaches, but for the most part I try and weigh up the emotional effort it takes to keep someone in my life (real or online, both take energy) and it’s only when there is no benefit or upside for me that I step away. There will always be people in my life who aggravate me, upset me or make me angry, I know I can’t get away from that, but those people who do still offer me some other value, often as a balance to my own viewpoints, are the ones I will keep around.