Right/wrong or an honored place in the dialogue
“…In virtually every human society, ‘he hit me first’ or ‘he started it’ provides an acceptable rationale for what comes next. It’s thought that a punch thrown second is legally and morally different than a punch thrown first. The problem with the principle of even-numberedness is that people count differently. People think of their own actions as the consequences of what came before, they think of other people’s actions as the causes of what came later, and that their reasons and pains are more palpable, more obvious and real, than that of others.” *
These are positions and ideas we all “wind up” playing out. When we “are” right, embedded in that truth is an equal truth that someone else is wrong—it’s not a matter of accuracy, it’s a matter of being. We can’t be happy, vital, and loving while we’re being right, making someone wrong, or justifying our positions—one displaces the other. The “rightness” of our positions also precludes us from being open to seeing other points of view.
We have a choice about what’s at play. When we elect to transform ways we wound up being, we move to a place of freedom, a place of possibility. Our points of view and positions can then move from fixed to malleable, from closed to open—where each person has an honored place in the dialogue.
* Adapted from Daniel Gilbert, New York Times, 7/24/06.
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