don kerr

5 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Finding the middle ground or: Why I chose to eliminate extremism from my life

Finding the middle ground or: Why I chose to eliminate extremism from my life]

T way BE
RY ANIMALS

$70 YOUR HEALTH

SACUAN

MED TO

 

CONTANS

S PROD:Just recently a posting appeared here with a powerful photograph of a wolf pack. The putative point of the article which followed was, to my understanding:  a rogue wolf pack is roaming the lands of beBee picking upon poor innocents and raining abuse upon the gentle country folk of beBee land.

The commentary trail, which has become quite long and interesting, features many more chiming in about niceness, politesse, gentleness, and abolishing the extremes of trolls and bullies.

What I have found absent throughout however is any mention of finding the middle ground.

Let's suppose for a moment that this site becomes nothing more than a giant global hugfest. Sugary and saccharine where never a discouraging word is heard (to quote the old song, lest I be accused of plagiarism!). 

Finding the middle ground or: Why I chose to eliminate extremism from my life]

T way BE
RY ANIMALS

$70 YOUR HEALTH

SACUAN

MED TO

 

CONTANS

S PROD: A pack of care bears roaming the bucolic fields of beBee has as little appeal to me as the alternative.

Finding the middle ground or: Why I chose to eliminate extremism from my life]

T way BE
RY ANIMALS

$70 YOUR HEALTH

SACUAN

MED TO

 

CONTANS

S PROD:Then, of course, there is the strychnine alternative - bitterness and venom spew forth in a frothy flood of outrage responding to alternative perspectives and personal affronts -  real or imagined. Both extremes will kill you. One perhaps more rapidly than the other but neither is a desirable alternative.

Then there is at least one more alternative wherein the good people of beBee land adapt to the reality of allowing the loudest voices and tender folk to take precedence. Where we are legislated by site management to make declarative statements that when we post something it is solely our opinion and not meant to represent the views of either the legislative, judicial or administrative functionaries who represent the people of beBeemerica. We then end up in the unenviable position of blithely and submissively surrendering the wonder that currently exists where we can engage in real conversation - MOST OF THE TIME! I don't want to be a simple follower and be confronted with this view every time I log on.

Finding the middle ground or: Why I chose to eliminate extremism from my life]

T way BE
RY ANIMALS

$70 YOUR HEALTH

SACUAN

MED TO

 

CONTANS

S PROD:

I am a proud Canadian. For years, in fact right up until a few years ago when 10 years of an authoritarian Conservative government robbed us of the distinction, we were known as a nation of peacekeepers. Whether in the Balkans or Rwanda or many other hot spots, the U.N. blue berets in combination with the Canadian flag were a welcome site to those suffering. 

Now, clearly, the travails of beBeemerica don't compare even slightly to those real tragedies (although some of the commentary and the attendant screeching would suggest otherwise) we Canucks try always to find the middle ground. Some suggest this makes us wishy-washy. Others will say we need to take a stand and be more forceful. Sometimes governments have been known to attempt to join the willy-wagging of global conflict response but when our ability to respond and assist consists of sending a fleet of Royal Canadian Canoes and Rowboats to support the attack, we often fall short. To the history-sensitive among readers - the RCN and RCAF and Army have a proud history especially in WWI and WWII when our men and women punched way above our weight and paid mightily for it. 

Perhaps it was those sacrifices that inspired our desire to keep the peace. Former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson won the Nobel Prize for Peace and his approach imbued our society with this desire for many decades.

So here's my proposal, which I have stated on numerous occasions on this site: if we adopt a posture of mutual respect we can continue to enjoy the divergent opinion which is both the blood and fibre of this community. That's all it takes. An absence of personal attack. A determination not to seek refuge in legal protections such as claiming our opinion is our own. A commitment to be polite and, finally, to behave in the manner our mothers taught us.

That's the middle ground. That's why I believe extremism of any kind is barren.

I love the international flavour of this community. It is so much richer than the North-American-centric atmosphere of LI and FB. I delight in hearing of the varying opinions of people from down under, from Asia, from all over Europe, from South America and the American South. It is brilliantly diverse and engaging.

Peace out brothers and sisters. Between the hardness of granite and the softness of cedar there is fertile ground for all.

Finding the middle ground or: Why I chose to eliminate extremism from my life]

T way BE
RY ANIMALS

$70 YOUR HEALTH

SACUAN

MED TO

 

CONTANS

S PROD:

N.B. This is my opinion - like, whose else would it be but just in case you were confused.

All photos sourced from Google Advanced Image except for granite/cedar which I sourced from my camera.

Copyright Don Kerr Writes 2016


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Comments

don kerr

5 years ago #40

#46
yessiree

don kerr

5 years ago #39

#49
you are right Franci Eugenia Hoffman. Thanks for making the time to share your thoughts

don kerr

5 years ago #38

Sending not s Ning🤓

don kerr

5 years ago #37

#48
it's our way of s Ning kisses and hugs without being blatantly overt. I am. Canuck after all so shyness is bred in the bone Donna-Luisa Eversley

Thank you Donna-Luisa Eversley and his comment: "Be happy be respectful be yourself be a Bee! :)"

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #35

#45
Thanks Franci Eugenia Hoffman

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #34

#42
Donna-Luisa Eversley

#22
Applause

don kerr

5 years ago #32

Xxoo#40

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #31

🐝🐝🐝🐝 bzzzzzzzz

don kerr

5 years ago #30

Thanks Pascal. Appreciate your contributions. #37

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #29

I am a simple guy this site has affintity as a guiding principle if there is none between people they just need to move on also we should not let a minority outweigh the benefits who will be tarnished by a handful of individuals While flagging maybe required overly broadcasting wrong behaviours is also counterproductive there is number of stuff I don't follow on beBee because it does not speak to me , the moderators are the site owners and we should follow their policies and T&Cs in fine it is their responsibility to have duty of care for their users I think this is in place and people need to use it...... Good call out Don Kerr :-)

don kerr

5 years ago #28

#24
no problem with this Dean Owen. Truly tired of the slew footing!

don kerr

5 years ago #27

#26
Kindness and respect are all one can reasonably expect. Even when we have views which may be polar opposites we can alway tread the middle ground of honouring each other's perspectives. Thanks for chiming in Charles David Upchurch

don kerr

5 years ago #26

#29
could not agree more Paul \

don kerr

5 years ago #25

#28
many thanks for this lucid and rational commentary Mamen Delgado who also makes great sense.

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #24

After unfollowing anybody, you should be able to silence anybody. CC No\u00ebl De Castro Garc\u00eda

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #23

#30
after unfollow anybody you should be able to silence anybody. Federico \u00c1lvarez San Mart\u00edn

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #22

#29
Paul \).

Mamen 🐝 Delgado

5 years ago #21

#23
First of all many (syrupy 😉) thanks to Phil Friedman for tagging me in this post. Given that I comment articles on the wide Spanish speaker beBee section and also in the Anglophone part of it, in addition to having a family and a job to attend to, I apologize beforehand if I do not participate in all the posts. It is becoming complicated to handle so much information. Having said that, I will ask my parents because after reading your post Don Kerr I'm sure I must have a Canadian gene. 😉 About ten years ago I was participating as a user in a very popular blog in an online Spanish newspaper, a blog about sex, and all participants wrote anonymously. Nobody gave personal data. It was a pretty neat experience and taught me a lot about how to act and handle my first reactions when writing on the internet. I learned a lot because the anonymity gives you two options: to release all the rage in you or the opportunity to learn to deal with it. I chose the latter. Besides, I've always thought that internet forums in this regard give you an opportunity that we don't have in a direct conversation: write your answer, read, go to prepare a tea, returning a few minutes later, read it again and then send. But often we don't get the advantage of that possibility and speak (or we write) as if it was a "person to person" conversation, and it is not. Written language gives rise to much confusion difficult to solve quickly, and normally ends up entangling communication. I witnessed many pointless discussions in the forum that I commented before, and I was the target of some trolls, but it all helped me to learn about myself and how to deal in this kind of communication. And as you said in the title of your post Don, I chose to eliminate extremism from my life, both online and offline. Thanks for sharing, great article!

Javier 🐝 CR

5 years ago #20

Be happy be respectful be yourself be a Bee! :)

Dean Owen

5 years ago #19

#22
Once again congratulations Kevin-san on the new addition to the family. It has been a conflicting couple of weeks. As far as @Don Kerr's articulate article, it appears that viewpoints on both sides are aligned with most people voicing their desire for civil engagement. I think bees have become road weary. This has dragged on far too long and is having an extremely negative affect on the community. Legacy feuds from relationships carried over from LinkedIn and a constant campaign to entice supporters - it's all a tad pointless. Everyone seeking the moral high ground and wanting the last word... Some people will never agree to disagree and move on. For them I suggest they employ ample doses of "Unfollow", "Mute User", "Silence Hive", and most of all - restraint. Actions speak louder than words. If we don't see this, it is clearly apparent that some people are just picking for a fight. @Don Kerr, great article. But I think beBee welcomes all types of content, even content considered "insipid" by some. The idea is to hand over controls to the user to be able to filter "insipid content" and have a feed they consider relevant. Let those who enjoy a global hugfest enjoy it. Let those who enjoy "intellectual engagement" enjoy it. Let those viewer who just want to enjoy their time online enjoy. If you don't find a mutual affinity, use the tools!

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #18

#19
An astute observation, Jim Murray and this thread are not as interesting as "The Other" because this one deals promotes a moderate view and rationally discusses ideas and opinions, whereas "The Other" post proceeds by way of self-congratulatory frenzy of personal attack, defamatory innuendo, and character assassination, all under the guise of bringing a purported, though I submit thoroughly fabricated grievance to light? I personally find it very disappointing that the only beBee Ambassador to even visit here briefly is John White, MBA, nor even objected to the ad hominem attacks being fomented there. I cannot express the depth of my disappointment that beBee is turning out not to be what I had hoped it would, namely a platform of mutual respect for one another, as well as respect for authentic intellectual exchange worldwide. Maybe, I am being overly judgemental. And perhaps most beBee Ambassadors have not yet noticed this post, which is a model of rational discussion. So let's correct that now by tagging them here: David Grinberg Paul \.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #17

It's been a conflicting couple of days. My youngest son was married yesterday (great pinnacle of joy) while a series of comments & posts were made on beBee which are so passive aggressive a Canadian would blush. I've been dying to weigh in, but had no time. To add to my dilemma, I'm going into a series of offsite meetings and won't get time to comment / post for another couple of days. But I've managed to get a few minutes and wanted to add my $0.02 I get very, very uncomfortable with a mindset that states "If you are not for me, you must be against me." whether it is in politics, religion, or relationships. When this mindset is adopted by people in power, or perceived power, it can get downright ugly as it starts a bandwagon rolling that too many people seem more than eager to jump on. I spend a great deal of time studying how successful organizations and communities work. It's part of my job in bringing big change into such places. Every org and community has diversity of opinions and priorities - some at polar opposites. The organizations that work well have found a way to bring the opposing viewpoints together to discuss them, sometimes with great energy and emotion. It's not always 'nice' because passions can run high, but in successful organizations, the arguments are around issues, not people. Organizations that don't work are the ones where the members draw lines in the sand, and begin defending their position by attacking the character and platform of the other party - more often than not making implications of nefarious intent. Sometimes this is overt, other times extremely passive aggressive. The phrase 'pack of wolves' and all it implies has been thrown around rather freely recently on beBee. It worries me. A lot. I was truly pleased to read this post Don, and once I get back in the saddle, I have the idea for a few posts of my own.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #16

It's been a conflicting couple of days. My youngest son was married yesterday (great pinnacle of joy) while a series of comments & posts were made on beBee which are so passive aggressive a Canadian would blush. I've been dying to weigh in, but had no time. To add to my dilemma, I'm going into a series of offsite meetings and won't get time to comment / post for another couple of days. But I've managed to get a few minutes and wanted to add my Don Kerr's post. I get very, very uncomfortable with a mindset that states "If you are not for me, you must be against me." whether it is in politics, religion, or relationships. When this mindset is adopted by people in power, or perceived power, it can get downright ugly as it starts a bandwagon rolling that too many people seem more than eager to jump on. I spend a great deal of time studying how successful organizations and communities work. It's part of my job in bringing big change into such places. Every org and community has diversity of opinions and priorities - some at polar opposites. The organizations that work well have found a way to bring the opposing viewpoints together to discuss them, sometimes with great energy and emotion. It's not always 'nice' because passions can run high, but in successful organizations, the arguments are around issues, not people. Organizations that don't work are the ones where the members draw lines in the sand, and begin defending their position by attacking the character and platform of the other party - more often than not making implications of nefarious intent. Sometimes this is overt, other times extremely passive aggressive. The phrase 'pack of wolves' and all it implies has been thrown around rather freely recently on beBee. It worries me. A lot. I was truly pleased to read this post Don, and once I get back in the saddle, I have the idea for a few posts of my own.

Randy Keho

5 years ago #15

#19
The Lolly Pop Guild?

Jim Murray

5 years ago #14

Some commentary on this important issue is conspicuous by its absence.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #13

#13
Don Kerr > "The commentary trail, which has become quite long and interesting, features many more chiming in about niceness, politesse, gentleness, and abolishing the extremes of trolls and bullies." (Don Kerr) To illustrate the depth of the misunderstanding, the following is a quote from the comments thread which you, Don, have reference to at the begining of this buzz: "They are constantly complaining that niceness is akin to lack of intelligence." I do not know of a single instance in which anyone has said or implied that "niceness is akin to lack of intelligence." Nor do I know of a single instance in which anyone has said that people on beBee should stop being nice to one another. In my experience, and to the best of my knowledge, those who have questioned the value of a constant diet of "nice" comments have said simply that questioning and polite disagreement are stimulants for intellectual growth and authentic engagement. And I challenge anyone to show otherwise. Moreover, nobody to my knowledge has ever tried to stop other people from being nice to one another. Whereas those who would be constantly "nice" and never questioning or disagreeing are continually arguing that comments which do not fall within their definition of acceptable should never be posted. Which is why your appeal to follow the middle ground is so important, and strikes such a strong chord with me and, I am sure, many others. Cheers!

don kerr

5 years ago #12

#14
I very much appreciate you making the time to read and comment debasish majumder

don kerr

5 years ago #11

#15
Yeah, that's exactly what I think of when I think of you Randy Keho - a kitten. A big, spitting nasty kitten;) Love this comment. I was going to include a passage in hear of when I used to hang out at the Toronto Press Club back in the '80s. Talk about a pit of vipers but lordy, lordy did I ever learn alot listening and conversing with those seasoned ink-stained wretches.

Randy Keho

5 years ago #10

Those damn Canadians take the fun out of everything. Who else would try to quell a rebellion with a teddy bear? I have to give it to you for originality, though. I would have used a kitten.Don Kerr

don kerr

5 years ago #9

You have a remarkable ability to distil Jim Murray "This site needs to live and breathe originality, fearlessness and aspiration. Because those are the keys to success." Kerr out!

Jim Murray

5 years ago #8

I'm glad you wrote this Don. Because you are way more articulate and diplomatic than I am. But we are of the same mind. Many of us came here looking for what LinkedIn did not appear to be capable of providing. I, for one, have a great deal of intellectual capital invested here, as do many of us. We all want the same thing. But at the same time, we're all grown up. If I see something I find disturbing or regressive or 'anti-social', I will point it out. I will do this, as should we all, as diplomatically as possible. But not so diplomatic as to obscure the issue. This is a long and winding road. And it's one that can take you off in a wrong direction of you are not vigilant. We need this site to be head and shoulders above any other social media site out there. Because that is how it's going to succeed. Not by safeplaying or turning into a 'peace-love-groovy' be-in. There are no shortage of sites like that. If beBee is going to be attractive to talented people and innovative businesses with ideas to share, it needs to show the world that it's truly about its users...every one of them, warts and all. To do that it needs to prove that it is an world class social media experience. And if that sounds elitist, that's because it's exactly how it should sound. This site needs to live and breathe originality, fearlessness and aspiration. Because those are the keys to success. (In my opinion, of course) John White, MBA

don kerr

5 years ago #7

#4
You are most welcome John White, MBA. Frankly, you're a large part of the reason many of us are here and you have always been dignified and fair in your commentary on all manner of issues.

don kerr

5 years ago #6

#5
You are a good man Phil Friedman and I appreciate your commentary at all times...regardless how prickly I believe you to be motivated by an interest in and commitment to meaningful conversation.

don kerr

5 years ago #5

#6
Thank you Praveen Raj Gullepalli. I will agree that by and large we do achieve the middle ground the majority of time. Just recently however there has been a groundswell of commentary that doesn't fit that description. I very much appreciate your perspective.

don kerr

5 years ago #4

#7
Thanks John John Valledor for your thoughtful comments.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #3

Don Kerr - This is a truly marvelous post, packed with good sense and goodwill. And in a tone far less harsh than I could ever aspire to. There clearly some small minority of users on beBee who spend their time attacking people -- not ideas or opinions, but the people who express them. On the other side there seems to be a much larger faction that sees any form of questioning or disagreement, however calm, polite, and Socratic in nature, to be a personal attack. Ironically, this faction itself often resorts to crowd bullying for the purpose of silencing those whom they see as criticizing them (by questioning their statements or ideas). As you point out so ably, in the middle between the two irrational extremes, lies intelligent conversation and authentic engagement. Thank you for speaking up for the middle road so eloquently. Cheers!

John White, MBA

5 years ago #2

Thanks, Don!

don kerr

5 years ago #1

Aurorasa Sima Thank you for your commentary and thanks for the share. Sorry to disappointment you with no care bear followup!

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