Got a definitive thought? Think again.

Why conflict resolution is a thing of the past

…or why EVERYTHING is a grey area these days.

Have you noticed the disturbing new trend in the world? Nothing is ever succinct. EVER. Problems are on the rise as solutions or on the decline. Here’s what I mean.

Everything… and I mean EVERYTHING you say, think or do, has an asterisk, an addendum or counterpoint. This means nothing is ever a definitive statement or complete thought. And it’s exactly why no one–from Politicians to parents–can ever seem to resolve anything.

To clarify, lets take a little quiz shall we?

Try convincing someone (not arguing, because then you’re just being a bully) any of the following topics:

  • Titanic (1997) is the greatest movie of all time.
  • The President is single-handedly responsible for the state of our economy
  • Elvis is the greatest entertainer that ever lived
  • The Super Bowl is completely unwatchable due to excessive advertising

Think about each of those statements. They’re all opinion. I can tell you where I fall on each topic, sure, but the point is there are facts—verifiable FACTS—that validate either side of each statement. And so, there is no right or wrong, no one definitive answer and thus, no resolution.

Human beings have displayed a remarkable propensity to be bull-headed on just about everything. The more facts we seem to have at our disposal, the more we seem to ignore facts and stubbornly stick to what we chose, regardless of logic or often even common sense.

It goes something like this:

James Cameron’s Titanic is the single highest-grossing film (in non-adjusted dollars, that would then be Gone With The Wind from 1939). From a box office standpoint, the movie is a resounding success. However, it is widely seen by film critics as a shoddy, fragmented and meandering screenplay (fact) that makes sitting and watching a 3-hour preamble to a sinking boat disaster film nearly unwatchable (opinion).

See my point? Nothing is definitive. Both the fact that it is the highest grossing film of all time and the fact that many movie watchers who have been trained in what to look for (like say yours truly) find the film almost impossible to sit through—are both 100% accurate.

Here’s it is; if nothing you say is definitive or has a counterpoint, then we will decide on anything. Ever. This is the root behind why our nation is so divided on just about every topic from race relations, to religion in schools, to the economy, to terrorism to gun control and immigration, and this is why we will never resolve anything. Too much to consider from both sides and too many counter-points, so we all simply shut down. The breakdown of communication and the erosion of any social progress we have made in the last 100,000 years.

Here’s a little impromptu case study to further my point:

I’m hungry.

So get a burger. 

But what about the carcinogens?

I know, but you like meat. 

Yeah, but methane is destroying the ozone layer.

Sure, but the animal is already dead and processed. 

And those processed fillers cause cancer.

Well, there’s always tofu or salad.

I know, but I’m still hungry.

This limbo of point / counterpoint is making us into a society with no ability to make a decision—or immediately regret any decision or opinion instantly. We need to get over this cultural check mate or we will continue to watch the steady erosion of our laws, our progress as a society and even or very way of life.

And that, is a fact.

Arthur “Arth Vader” Milano is a blogger, gamer, advertising and social media copywriter who defies convention. He co-hosts the weekly gaming-for-parent podcast and blog Controller Issues

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