“Life, too, is like that. You live it forward, but understand it backward.”
“It’s the one thing we never quite get over: that we contain our own future.”
Thinking about what legacy you want to leave behind can make you start thinking a little bit about what you may want to stubbornly stand for and demand of Life … and what you may decide to compromise with Life to insure you have something … some progress to show at the end.
A significant part of this grand bargain we negotiate with Life is how we decide to compromise with those around us and those who affect the arc of our lives.
That word “compromise.”
Therein lies maybe one of the most difficult topics of the current generation.
The topic is that the concept of compromise … meeting someone half way … is now a nebulous concept.
Because I am not sure I know where the hell half way is.
And I tend to believe a shitload of people are standing with me, on one side or the other, not really sure where the hell half way is.
And if you cannot even see the middle ground how the hell can you figure out how to make a stand on it?
This gets compounded by a massive online communal world in which we all live side by side where even the marginalized people ,real or perceived>, who now have a place to gather into likeminded groups, share as much a space as mainstream views.
For good, or for bad, online any group of people can organize & mobilize & challenge the status quo … or pick & choose which status quo fits their view.
The Internet amplifies discourses critical of … well … any status quo you can think of. And, as anyone could expect, all the critical discourse triggers a corresponding equal backlash from those who fear an uprooting of their beliefs <and the identities that are inevitably attached to these beliefs>.
It just becomes one huge mosh pit of criticism and cocooning of likeminded people.
All who are angry.
Within all of this it seems like no one is civil to one another. And maybe worse is the fact there is this ‘digging in’ aspect where we refuse to see any merit in other people’s opinions.
Sadly, we have lost the ability to converse, discuss, debate and have a dialogue with one another.
It seems obvious <at least to me> but if we could figure out how to come together and compromise, that we could go a long way toward not only creating a better version of society in general … but it may give me, and all of us, at least a fighting chance with regard to where we make our own personal stand … and where we compromise … and how we attain the future that we contain.
As long as people cling to unbending attitudes & beliefs, the divides between us will not deepen … but will remain an unbridgeable divide.
I tend to believe most of us want better that that.
I tend to believe most of us would be willing to work to make this a better and more civil world to live in.
And if you do not?
I would remind everyone that America is representative of a great compromise. The U.S. Constitution is possibly the greatest Compromise ever negotiated <it created a nation>.
But we need to figure out how to better define Compromise.
Far too many loudmouthed people have ripped the meaning out of the word, twisted the value of the word making it seem valueless, and ultimately we have demonized the entire process of trying to reach compromise.
Compromise no longer means understanding your differences and working together toward a common goal but now it seems to represent weakness, losing and not being strong enough to get what you want.
This unwillingness to work together has wrought havoc to society where the unwavering stance seems to be “don’t compromise, stick to your guns, don’t give in to the other side”.
I find it hard to believe that the majority of America is really that selfish and that stubborn.
Sure. I know the people most passionate about any issue tend to be the ones less willing to compromise on them.
And, yeah, I would guess most of us are fairly passionate about ourselves – what we decide to stand for … as well as what we will decide to sacrifice within compromise to attain some progress.
But within this wacky world where no one seems to want to compromise anything on anything … well … shit … some of us are trying to think a little bit about what you may want to stubbornly stand for and demand of Life … and what you may decide to compromise with Life to insure you have something … some progress to show at the end.
It seems like the situation we are in has arisen because we have permitted the stubborn voices of the radical marginalized <real and perceived> to drown out the pragmatic voices of realistic positive compromise.
If we want society to start working again we need to embrace compromise — and let it retain the positive definition which has served it well through time.
To end this I will go back to the beginning.
The “I” aspect.
I tend to believe all of us, with the intent of finding the best version of ourselves from which our ultimate legacy will be defined, will seek to find the balance of being stubborn and demand that Life bend to us and our principles and compromise where we make a grand bargain with Life in order to continue progressing.
If we believe this … then why wouldn’t we want this in Life and in business and in politics and in … well … everything.
There was a book that discussed this. In The Spirit of Compromise <Amy Gutsman and Dennis Thomson> they note that Americans support general compromise as an idea and like the idea of ‘other people’ working together to get stuff done <statistics support this in a variety of studies & polls>.
Compromise is complex … and simple.
What I do know is that we contain our own future and building that future demands that we will have to make some compromises. That is simple.
Making the specific choices is complex.
And while I am mostly interested in my own future and making my own compromise choices … I tend to believe we would all find the better version of ourself contained within … if the society as a whole were more willing to refind the value in compromise.