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GEVANS7 SparkPoints: (176,971)
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6/22/14 5:34 P

AGREE!t o the post below mine. There are really wise people here. As someone said "some things are black and white, others not"

"My query is this; what do you think it'd take together people to the "middle-ground" on any issue or is black or white the only way?"

my opinion: Intelligence and wisdom.

People are entitled to their beliefs and opinions. Respect is listening to them. Now, people who sit on the fence over important issues or have no opinion are frustrating to me. I will respect anyone who says they don't care to get involved, and as a mature adult, I never expect people to "pick a side" - but I do expect people to show some empathy and have some sign of intelligence regarding issues.

That said, anyone who brings up a hot topic (religion, politics, drama) is not my idea of a good workplace conversational buddy. But, if I see a wrong, I step up and stand by people in need.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
6/22/14 1:24 P

BBC and Al-Jazeera are the bomb!!

6/22/14 12:53 P

Thank you for that well thought out and articulate response Ladycjm.

Idk what's next, most of my topics either pop into my head or have been a topic in my real life, thanks for reading.

Yeah, national or even local events tend to bind us together and it seems politics and religion aren't splitting us apart in those cases because we're too busy helping each other out but it's when there isn't an event like those that our differences may keep us from pulling together for solutions.

Not too many threads I start that I don't end up offending someone but hey, I welcome differences so long as their not personal attacks (which several had been).

I agree about having a sense of humor and having the ability to laugh at ourselves, some people are way too uptight about some pretty mundane topics (to me at least) and rather than laughing or ignoring them they puff their big chests out and start claiming they are offended.

Debating is a learned skill and folks who are not educated are NOT going to debate anything simply because they don't know how to debate, it's an art!

Like debating, researching topics is a learned skill and needs to be practiced, anyone can turn on the cable news and learn a few retorts trying to pass them off as facts or intelligent responses and it is way too hard for most folks to listen to a others opinions. Someone once told me that God gave up us two ears and only one mouth so we could listen more than we could talk, lol! Good advice!

As for cable news stations the three that I try to avoid are MSNBC, Fox News and CNN, they're horrid! I am a former MSNBC fan but grew less of a fan when they started to started to purposely be the opposite of Fox News who I never watched. CNN was not as balanced as I thought either, I am a liberal and I started to feel CNN was becoming way too liberal.

BBC and America Al-Jazeera seem more worldly and balanced because their source is from an outsiders point of view and though id rather listen to American-biased news listening to an outsiders point of views helps me with perspective. Don't get me wrong, I love America and am very patriotic but I know we're seen as idiots elsewhere.

Eggs? I LOVe eggs and eat a dozen a week (mostly egg whites)

LADYCJM SparkPoints: (56,678)
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6/21/14 2:32 P

KJ. I have to say that I really enjoy your thought provoking questions. I've been thinking about this since yesterday morning!

I think that having only black and white opinions is bad for us as a civil, intelligent nation. We are losing the ability to have a civil conversation, to think about anything other then the latest celebrity gossip or reality show.
We have become stridently militant on too many subjects. Think of vegan vs carnivores, anti-vaccers vs pro vaccers, pro choice vs pro life and on and on ......

I think back to the "my way or the highway" comments that I have heard throughout the years.

Rarely is anything black or white, most things are shades of gray.

An easy example of this is the food/diet instructions we read. Don't eat eggs, eggs are evil, eggs will kill you by raising your cholesterol. Oh, wait a minute...2 eggs a week are okay, oh what's that you say? Dietary and hereditary cholesterol are different? Oh, maybe eggs aren't so bad.

So how do we return to a more civil discourse?

A couple of thoughts.

First we need to quit getting our news/education on subjects from the tabloid news/internet headlines and talking heads who are out to sell commercial time. Where is Walter Konkrite when we need him? Real journalists/news sources that will provide us with "The facts, ma'am, just the facts" then add thoughtful commentary would go along ways towards improving our understanding and our ability to discuss a topic. I think ,many of these carved in stone opinions are that way because it's easier to pick a side, memorize a few points and move on.

Second, we need to learn how to research a topic, how to determine that a source is worthy of our time and what is valid research or supporting evidence. (Check out a website called Spurious correlations, cool graphs correlating all kinds of things that have nothing to do with each other).
We need to find trusted sources of information, not Uncle Bubbas International News, Diabetes Research and Bigfoot Hunting Information. web.
For me, one of the most important things our high schools need to do is teach kids how to tell a good source from a bad source and how to tell real science from speculation.

Third, we need to learn how to debate, like in debating clubs and classes in schools. We need to learn how to listen to the other side, really listen and be able to repeat back an argument without thinking about how we are going to argue against it.

And lastly we need to re-develop a sense of humor and a sense of perspective. We need to be able to laugh at ourselves and others, not in a mean or bullying way but in a we are all in this together way. We need to be able to see that there is humor in many things, that a comment made about a topic is not an assault on the individual.

Examples of this need are seen everyday on these boards. Make a comment on most any topic and someone will say Well, that doesn't apply to me! How dare you think you can make a general comment about eggs! You MUST add 50 caveats that exclude every group that MIGHT have an exception or else you will offend ME!

Do we need another event like WWII or 911 to pull us together? I don't know, in one way it would pull us together, the shared sacrifices and thinking about the well being of others, but I also see that it happens every year with things like Haiti earthquake, Katrina and on a smaller, local scale (Hotshots crews donate 1000#s of donated food to local food bank before going back to their home base - Slide Rock Fire 2014).
Those events don't change our opinions on sex, abortion, immigration, round-abouts (local hot topic). Most of us have developed opinions on these topics based on what our parents thought, what we see on the news, our limited experience with a topic and what is said by our favorite celebrity.

Thanks for a thought provoking question! What's next? :)
Edited because grafts and graphs aren't interchangeable! But I bet we could correlate them!

Edited by: LADYCJM at: 6/21/2014 (14:38)
KRKNOCKS SparkPoints: (122,057)
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6/21/14 9:07 A

No. The more gray I have in my hair the more gray I see the world.

MARKATSPARK Posts: 5,869
6/21/14 5:57 A


JEFFGIRL Posts: 9,295
6/21/14 12:43 A


EMPRESSAMQ Posts: 5,077
6/21/14 12:42 A

"We all have swallowed the cable news networks whole and hard and in turn have seemed to let that influence bleed into our personal lives."

This is a fairly sweeping generalization, isn't it? I disagree that "we all" have done any such thing.

Lol, personally I don't even have cable.

Anyway, not having a black or white opinion is, IMO, a good thing.

PATTYGIVENS SparkPoints: (101,045)
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Posts: 4,315
6/20/14 11:09 A


AUSSIEJAN2 Posts: 2,943
6/19/14 11:02 P

Some things are black or white, some are not. Right and wrong for instance, legal or illegal, moral or immoral. Just because you don't have any opinion doesn't change that. I hate to be wishy washy, so I have definite opinions about a lot of things. Those things I know nothing about, I rely on my standards, or defer till I know more about them.
My standard is always according to the Bible. It works.
I am 70 and still married to the same man after 47 years. We need boundaries and rules to keep us safe and happy. Being inflexible and rigid is not what I mean though. The rule of kindness and love is over all these things.

ANDILH Posts: 1,536
6/19/14 10:34 P

First of all, I have to say that forced long term exposure to someone would NOT make me more tolerant of that person or their beliefs. Think of high schools and how children are forced together already. Clearly there are those who lose it, and I think forcing people to be around others constantly would only make that worse. If you're not already a tolerant person, going into a situation like that would not make you one. During WWII our country had VERY different social beliefs. Like it our not, our country was far less diverse. It's also less about the number of people affected by military service. The military itself was very different back then. Women were only allowed as nurses, and units were racially divided. So the comparison between the military then and then military today as a basis for forcing people to learn to be more tolerant isn't productive.
That said, there are things that I have no opinion about, while others I have very strong opinions and think that those who disagree with me are idiots. They are free to feel that way, just as I'm free to feel whatever way I feel. The things I tend to have no real opinion about are things that I'm probably the least knowledgable about. It's hard for me to form an opinion without at least a basic working knowledge or description.
I think that people do often take any disagreements of their views as a personal attack instead of as an opportunity for discussion or learning. I know many people who follow the "if you're not for us you're against us" theory, and frankly it's very limiting. I may never change my opinion, but I'd like to know why another person has such a differing opinion and what led them to that decision. Human nature being what it is, sometimes there are gray areas. Sometimes there are hypocritical decisions made, sometimes what is appropriate for one person in one situation isn't appropriate for another person in the same situation.

FLORADITA SparkPoints: (54,425)
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6/19/14 6:53 P

All of us have our own ideas about various topics and we carry personal biases that influence what we believe and the way we think. When we understand that this is what drives our feelings about certain things it becomes easier to put aside our opinions and see other points of view. In my own experience from having lived quite a few years on this planet, things are neither black or white, but many different shades of grey.(maybe even 50 shades of grey) The moment I believe I am absolutely sure about something, it is time for me to step back and consider other perspectives because I know being absolute in my beliefs leads to closing the doors on other options. I am pretty decisive when necessary but I have learned to be open to suggestions and other points of views. Of course, my friends always say. "you're Canadian, you have to be moderate." Ha!

PFARRAR65 SparkPoints: (37,141)
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6/19/14 3:50 P


JONEC14333 SparkPoints: (46,125)
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6/19/14 3:42 P

Maybe. Maybe not. Lighten up.

Edited by: JONEC14333 at: 6/19/2014 (15:42)
EELPIE Posts: 2,700
6/19/14 3:39 P

I agree with Brian "That being said I think being rude and dogmatic while discussing it is bad."

Sometimes I just have to walk away from a person. lol..I also never discuss religion or politics

GIPPER1961 Posts: 682
6/19/14 3:23 P

I actually don't think having a black and white opinion is bad. Depending on the subject it may just be a personal standard.

That being said I think being rude and dogmatic while discussing it is bad.

ETHELMERZ SparkPoints: (161,970)
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6/19/14 3:07 P

I don't know if it's "bad", it just isn't reported on or cared about anymore.

MAINEALI SparkPoints: (76,253)
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Posts: 1,317
6/19/14 12:29 P

People, our society, have forgotten that an opinion is just that. Everyone has individual thoughts and in this country, are free to express them, supposedly without fear or reprisal. We have forgotten this in general. We take other people's opinions as attacks on us and what we think and believe. Maybe sometimes they are attacking but chances are they are just trying to express their opinion. We must be willing to hear other's opinions in order to expect them to be willing to hear ours. It's a two way street. My opinion is that our opinions don't have to be black or white. They can be any shade because they are what we think and feel and that shouldn't be under attack by anyone.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
6/19/14 12:00 P

Jeez, hate to do it - but I'm with the WWII thing as well.

Sometimes when I look at what Londoners went through with the bombings (almost nightly bombings - could you imagine that terror??), and the severe, severe rationing they endured, the constant fear they lived in for a few years...of a very tangible thing - not to mention that the Germans were just across the channel, and they went through all of that...alone, while country after country around them toppled..... emoticon And then hearing Hitler all the time on the radio, saying how he's gonna wipe them out.

Some Londoners shipped their kids out to the country, and those kids lived with strangers, in order to protect them. Imagine being so afraid, that you shipped your kid away for year or 2 or 3....imagine being a 4 year old, being shipped off to live with strangers. Approximately 100,000 kids were shipped off....and stranger had to take them in.

So they had all of that going on...while trying to feed their civilians, arm and feed (and that was very hard) their soldiers (no idea if you have any idea of England's rationing situation during and after the was bad), protect the country from an overwhelming superior force that was pummeling the crap out them - try to build an airforce and navy (plans, ships, etc.) that could withstand that, and try to come up with technology (improved radar, etc.) in order to tip the scales...and having to deal with a buttload of 5th columnists in the country... emoticon

Wanna read something intense: The little ships of Dunkirk:

Yeah. 9/11 sucked...but.....

Edited by: EELPIE at: 6/19/2014 (12:24)
LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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6/19/14 11:27 A

I'd hate to get into take this over in a tangent but the scale of the country's effort towards the cause of winning WWII was a 100x greater than the effort put forth after September 11th. The country, in the aftermath of September 11th, acted with one mind to grieve, but the action after that did not demand the full country's participation in the same way the WWII effort did.

That being said, forced prolonged interaction with people of other mindsets would be a way towards at least re-teaching tolerance of other opinions. Enacting something like a national service program would take a level of political will and cooperation that has not been seen in at least 25 years.

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (171,197)
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6/19/14 11:13 A


That's not entirely true about WWII being the last time this country banded together. The most recent event to unify this country was September 11th. That's when this country acted as a single mind.

The problem with KJ's statement is that no one wants to COMPROMISE any more. That's the big "C" word no one wants to admit to using. These days, too many people believe in my way or the highway. if you're not with me you must be against me.

Things have become too black or white in our society. There is no more middle ground. People who compromise are considered wishy washy because they are not one way or the other. The only person making money off of shades of grey is author E L James. LOL !!

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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6/19/14 11:02 A

This is a terrible thing, but I think the only thing you could actually get people to come together again is to be involved in a massive event on the scale of WWII. Think about it, for the past 20 years or so, less than 1% of the US population has been directly involved with the military (either in uniform or as a family member). During WWII, 12% of the population was serving in the armed forces, and that doesn't count the millions working in factories and farms in support of the war effort. So if you count the family members of those serving, that increases to at least 25% of the population that was directly involved in the military. As the generation that fought WWII dies out, you've seen a proportionate increase in divisiveness and intolerance of other's ideas. This country has not experienced such a unifying event since.

Every Census shows an increasing polarization of the country where people are moving to neighborhoods populated with people similar to themselves and, in a sense, manufacturing their own echo chambers.

So in order to find a "middle-ground" in anything, again, I think there would need to be something like mandatory national service for everyone starting at age 18 for 2 years or so, just to force people to interact with others who don't necessarily share their values and/or belief systems.

JLAMING263 Posts: 4,705
6/19/14 10:54 A

I call it a RANT. I use social media to test out and develop my views on many points of view. Some agree, some disagree.... I have developed a trusted set of voices who point out their points of view, not always in line with me. emoticon emoticon

6/19/14 10:44 A

There use to be a time that I would notice that having a disagreement with another person was just that, a disagreement. Now it seems all or nothing like, "if you ain't for us then yer against us!" kind of attitude and on many issues personal or social.

My mom would remind me as a child that if I got mad at someone for disagreeing with me that I need to take a deep breath and try to see it from their point of view or at least try to understand what it is they disagree with you about.

That is TOO HARD to do it seems for most folk these days. We all have swallowed the cable news networks whole and hard and in turn have seemed to let that influence bleed into our personal lives.

Of course no one here is like that, just the rest of the non-SP world.

My query is this; what do you think it'd take together people to the "middle-ground" on any issue or is black or white the only way?

Yup, "it depends" is the best easy out answer but I cannot take that stand, too harsh, too finite, too no other choice for me.

I think it would take personal responsibility on our part to cut the cord from cable news sources of our choice and sit down and talk to someone of a different opinion about what's on our minds. The worst that could happen is that we change our minds on a topic and just how bad is that?

This could apply for anything including weight loss programs.

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