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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    It’s all relative: On the ‘wrongness’ of ideas

    At one point or another, everyone has tested a boundary or attempted to bend a rule. The idea that any law will actually budge when we try to “”push the envelope”” is ridiculous and na’ve. But it is also important that we all test the boundaries of different belief systems around us in order to attain our own version of values.

    When we decide to cross boundaries, even in the slightest, we’ve decided to do something that will result in a consequence, but consequence is not always a punishment. It is simply the idea that for every decision you make something happens as a result. When we challenge something other than universally accepted truths like laws – such as personal beliefs and ideologies – the consequence is gaining knowledge. The most prevalent time when consequences turn negative is when someone implements the idea of the extremes of “”black and white”” choices. “”Black and whites”” are subjective to an individual and so they’re not perfect, but are, instead, defined by you. Simply put, just because you think something is right doesn’t make it a certainty, and when you claim that it is, that’s when stuff gets ugly.

    Excluding the “”right and wrongs”” defined and set in stone by our legal system, we each craft our own ideas of “”good values”” based on our own beliefs and upbringings. Therefore, one person’s black and white will, at some point, inevitably fall within the gray area of someone else’s standards. The biggest weakness within a free will society, is the idea that, other than the law, there exists only one right answer to every question.

    Measuring any other person beside yourself by your own standards is a trivial way to define your own superiority. Intolerance toward anyone’s belief system or personal decisions that don’t run parallel with your own promotes nothing but division. The consequence of such comparison and bias is what divides a society into “”us”” and “”them.”” “”Us”” is how we create identity and belonging. “”Them”” is the opposite end of the spectrum, the “”wrong,”” which enables our thoughts of superiority to exist. It creates a false sense of accomplishment within everyone when, in the end, no one is ever absolutely right or wrong except for according to what each individual defines for themselves.

    No one is above the consequences that they invoke with their actions. So if a person is wrong, the consequences of their mistakes will show that.

    The phrase “”pushing the envelope”” and the idea associated with it – that there is a margin of error where we can all do a small amount of wrong and still be in the right – is not a viable excuse for knowingly going against what you know to be right. The day we can all realize that what we believe to be the truth can only ever be entirely right to us – and accept that – is the day that peace can be achieved.

    The only way we as a society have a chance to live harmoniously with one another is if we judge solely ourselves by our own convictions and hold others to do the same. If you as an individual can effectively do that, then you have effectively proved your superiority over those who are inclined to make judgments of others based on a subjective view of certainty. The ability to make an educated decision by yourself and learn from its result is an invaluable skill that few possess. If you are able to do so, then your knowledge and understanding will only grow with you as a person.

    The biggest injustice anyone can ever commit is thinking that any mindset or idea is totally right or totally wrong. The only entirely wrong idea is that your way of thinking is, in any way, superior to someone else’s. Yet the clincher is not just to disallow yourself to fall into the trap of imposing your own will and beliefs on someone else, but also to define your own individual black and white and to hold to those principles, keeping in mind all the while that they are only yours.

    An open mind is key to a successful society. So stop being so judgmental.

    – Isaac Mohr is a journalism freshman. He can be reached at

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