Being 'Neutral' Is Not Being Neutral 1

Water + Sulphuric Acid --> Dilute Sulphuric Acid

Dilute Sulphuric acid is NOT neutral!

Being Neutral Is Not Being Neutral 2

Let us imagine....

I am a complete twat and my brother is perfect. My sister tries to accommodate for both of us. I say “fuck my brother, he’s a douche” my sister says “I am not going to get involved in your squabble”, thereby imposing costs on my brother, who has done absolutely nothing wrong, yet has to pay for my excesses. In addition, there is some ripple effect which is detrimental to the family in general, and will most probably have far reaching effects too chaotic and distant to predict.

By not arbitrating my sister perceives she will retain the friendship of both of us, after all, she loves both of us and would hate to lose one. My brother, being good, shrugs his shoulders with a “c’est la vie”. I am naturally overjoyed that she allows me to continue with my bad behaviour and continue to be offered the same privileges as my good brother.

Now whatever happens, my good brother is not going to change, why should he?, he always does the right thing, if he were to change he could only do so by not doing the right thing. I just might change; if my sister intervened and told me what I was doing wrong and that if I would have to start paying the costs of the damage I was creating, there would be at least two encouragements to modify my behaviour.

I might comprehend that what I was doing was actually pointless and expensive and modify my behaviour on that understanding (because I was a twat because I was ignorant, not because I was stupid).

I might fear that by being forced to pay the costs of my activities might be too expensive for me, therefore be compelled to change.

Whatever, even if I did get a strop on with my sister, that might be marginally unpleasant for her, but it would be fundamentally my problem, something which was totally within my control, and therefore not really something to concern anybody else.

The problem with ‘sitting on the fence’ regarding conflicting views is that by doing so one allows the bad view equal credence over the better one.

Now let’s say my brother actually points out to my sister that she is wrong to tolerate my bad behaviour (In the meantime I’m telling her she is great, I’m so suave, and continue to make at ease and happy). It would be natural for her to feel uncomfortable and challenged by my good brother, and consciously or subconsciously avoid that discomfort by perhaps shunning it. We then have the situation where my good brother feels marginalised, and a negative feedback sets in when he continues to point out he is being marginalised, which in turn leads to increased reluctance of the sister, whose levels of cognitive dissonance are now being tested to an uncomfortable level.

We can substitute brother for A.N.Other, sister for friend, me for Dick Dastardly, “c’est la vie” could easily become “Jezuz sister, come on, Steve is a cunt” it doesn’t matter; we can change the degrees, the situations, and all other parameters, but the critical point is that by not participating in resolution of conflict when one has the power to do so not only permits ‘bad’ things to continue, it may very probably encourage them. And we all have the power to participate, but very few of us do. And the world gets worse.

Cue for chicken dance.