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Six rules for managing our era’s oversupply of non-stop news, high-decibel outrage
May 11, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | editorials.

Rule No. 1: You don’t need to have an opinion about everything. Shocking but true. ....It’s perfectly fair to say, “I don’t know enough to have an opinion on that," or, “I will leave that to others to debate,” or even, “Both sides have some good points.” You might not please everyone, but see Rule No. 2.

* Rule No. 2: You can’t please everyone. Get over it.

* Rule No. 3: Embrace ambivalence....often misinterpreted as indifference, or derided as indecision. In fact, the ability to entertain contradictory but animating ideas goes to the heart of what it means to be a mature and civilized human being. It’s also central to preserving political freedom. The most dangerous person in a democracy is the blind partisan who outsources her opinions to politicians or an ideology, and who sees those who don’t agree as enemies to be righteously chased from town by a torch-wielding mob. The biggest threat to such black-and-white partisanship is the person who keeps her mind open, is not blindly loyal to any one team and sees people with different opinions not as monsters to be slain but as human beings to be understood, especially when you disagree with them, and they disagree with you.

* Rule No. 4: When you take a stand, be forceful. While the process of reaching a conclusion should involve a lot of “on the one hand” and “on the other,” at some point you have to make a choice.

In a criminal trial, the decision to convict an accused person can only be taken if the evidence is persuasive beyond a reasonable doubt – in other words, if the evidence is irrefutable and the conclusion is certain. But in politics, business and life, most decisions must be taken under conditions that cannot meet that exacting standard. Reasonable doubts are reasonable. Only the extreme partisan is without them.

* Rule No. 5: Set your bottom line. How far are you willing to let another person go before you feel obliged to offer a counter-opinion? Not every take you hear deserves the energy required to argue against it. Sometimes, you have to just let people say things you don’t agree with. You might learn something.

And remember, just as there is no obligation to have an opinion on every subject, there is also no rule that says you must express your opinion every time the chance presents itself. But when someone or something does cross a line, sometimes you can’t hold back. It may be as lofty as a matter of justice, or a simple as a question of common sense, but there comes a moment when your opinion will matter.

* Rule No. 6: Opinions are not the same thing as empathy. Empathy is what makes it possible for people who disagree to live together in peace and harmony – to agreeably disagree. And in a multicultural, multireligious, multiracial, multiparty democracy, people are going to disagree about all sorts of things, all the time.

The world has enough opinions. What it really needs is more empathy. Without it, life isn’t possible.
21st._century  agreeably_disagree  ambivalence  commoditization_of_information  disagreements  disinformation  dual-consciousness  empathy  hard_choices  incivility  incompatibilities  information_overload  news  opinions  open_mind  outrage  partial_truths  partisanship  partisan_loyalty  political_spin  propaganda  rules_of_the_game 
9 weeks ago by jerryking
The Book of Life -- On Bittersweet Memories
'Surveying bits of our past – perhaps while in the bath, on a walk, or a flight – we may come across a particular type of memory colloquially known as ‘bittersweet’. -- We might remember afternoons we used to spend, when we were little, with our grandmother. Together we’d do a bit of weeding in her tiny garden, then we’d make lunch and play cards. Sometimes she showed us her old photographs of her own distant childhood. We enjoyed those times very much – but the memory of them is mixed up with the knowledge of what happened later. In adolescence, we pushed away from her, we almost never visited – and she died before we’d found our adult selves. She never got to know about the love we now feel for her. We wince at our recollections. -- ... In themselves, bittersweet memories can seem small and not very important. We perhaps don’t think about them very often; it can feel ticklishly uncomfortable to do so. But they’re quietly pointing us to something major about the human condition. Bittersweet memories force us to acknowledge that the positive in our lives is never far from being devilishly entwined with something more difficult. We feel, in the presence of bittersweet memories, the pain of being flawed, error-prone, time-short and regretful humans. -- It would, in a sense, be easier if things were more clear cut; white is simple enough to take and black, too, can be coped with when we know it has to be borne. It’s the grey – with its mercurial admixture of hope and regret – that is so hard for our minds. We long to call some people pure and dismiss others as monstrous, and we do the same with sections of our lives. But to be open to bittersweet memories is to accept ambivalence: a capacity to have two contrasting, opposed emotions about the same thing without disowning either. Both are important, neither can be denied. We’re recognising, rather than denying, the fiendishly mixed character of experience. -- We speak of bittersweet memories, but the territory they cover extends over far more than select bits of the past. We should, more rightly, also be ready to speak of, and reconcile ourselves gracefully to, bittersweet marriages, careers, holidays, weekends… Indeed, to the grandest and most necessary concept of all: that we are fated to have bittersweet lives.'
psychology  ambivalence  regret  awe  absurd 
april 2018 by adamcrowe
Adam Phillips · Against Self-Criticism · LRB 5 March 2015
Ambivalence does not, in the Freudian story, mean mixed feelings, it means opposing feelings.
adamphillips  ambivalence 
july 2017 by Walpole
YouTube -- Alain de Botton on Attachment Styles and the Art of Compromise
"What does it mean to love? To love means to have the willingness to interpret someone's, on the surface, not very appealing behaviour, in order to find more benevolent reasons why it may be unfolding. In other words, to love someone is to apply charity and generosity of interpretation."
philosophy  psychology  relationships  love  ambivalence 
july 2017 by adamcrowe

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