Covering the middle ground - rehashed.
Covering the middle ground (rehashed) - by P.K.Odendaal - May 2014
Oh, it is so nice to hold no set views or convictions - it enables one to jump to any conclusion, because that is how conclusions should be reached. If we should ponder the facts and take a considered view, then everyone would reach the same conclusion and that would be boring, and mostly wrong, because those conclusions would be based on conventional wisdom which is mostly wrong.
I do not know why fence-sitters have such a bad name. They should be honoured and revered as much as the opportunists are, the latter of which I can never be one - missed opportunities suits me just fine. I mean, if you are a fence-sitter then it would be so easy to jump from this fence to any side - and so convenient.
But, that is not the subject of this article.
I wish to ponder the middle ground from another viewpoint, and that is because the extremes are always bad and sometimes evil. There must be a balance in life, the sort of balance which enables us to sit on a fence without falling off. The only problem with that is that the fence is totally overcrowded for the wrong reasons and with the wrong people. We should be there because we hold convictions and not because we hold none.
The middle man.
The concept of the reasonable person was born, because courts needed some standard of rational human behaviour to test actions by. And, as you know, reasonable people do not exist. And ... of course, we all want to be reasonable - at least some times, but we are too self-centred to be that. How would we attain that? ... but wait ... what is wrong with the unreasonable person and how would a person be who is somewhere between reasonable and unreasonable ... perfectly normal I would think! It would be a kind of a man in the middle. There was one Man in the middle, between the perfect God and the chaotic earth who inspired me. Why can't we then also be the men/women in the middle?
Chaos and order.
And speaking of chaos. I live in two countries presently. The one is Canada in which the order is almost perfect and the other is South Africa which is almost totally chaotic - and neither suits me well. I am looking for a country in the middle, but look as I may, I have not found one yet. Something of a cross between the Wild West and the Holy City, but then ... the Wild West has become tame and the Holy City (Jerusalem) has become chaotic.
I have written previously of the Perfect World and how boring that would be, and how we would be at our most creative in the most chaotic world ... but neither will satisfy me fully. I would like the (im)perfect blend between the two ... and that is how Planet Earth is.
Ethics and crime.
If we look at the virtue ethics arguments of Aristotle we find that there is a golden mean. For example, modesty is the golden mean between the excess of vanity and the deficiency of humility; courage is the golden mean between foolhardiness and cowardice; generosity is the golden mean between wastefulness and stinginess.
In fact, there are four ethical theories: Mill's utilitarianism, Kant's formalism, Locke's rights ethics and Aristotle's virtue ethics, and sometimes these four are in conflict with each other. So, sometimes we find ourselves in an ethical dilemma, and it is these times that we are safe on the fence. It is much like Schrödinger's cat (from quantum mechanics), which can be alive or dead depending on some previous random event. Why would we jump off the fence to kill the cat, as there are many other ways to kill a cat!
Reason and chance.
I have been involved in many intricate and complex arguments with many people over many years, and I have found that the arguments which were proved to be right eventually, were those which people jumped to without reason.
I have just refuted my own argument in a previous article in which I urged you to take a considered view before making a decision - and now I do the exact opposite - but that inspires me to seek some middle ground between rationality and irrationality, as it seems that both these concepts are bad. Is that why emotion is irrational and the mind is rational, and that there is this conflict of view or interest?
Fate and luck.
If we look at marriages, we find that, on the whole, those where the partners had a free choice is in no way more happy or successful than those which were pre-arranged.