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Being Neutral is neither Peace, nor Balance
Neutrality is an interesting concept, and is mostly misunderstood and misinterpreted. Many academic books would speak of neutrality, and schools would try to inculcate neutral outlook as a fair outlook. Many media houses consider neutrality as a fair practice where they accommodate news of this and that and everything. In name of neutrality, news is shelled out as value-equitable, education and traditions as all-encompassing, and law is meted out as fair.
However, while these may seem to be logical, and reasonable, neutrality itself is inherently wrong. When it comes to the hilt, to take sides may appear to be unkind, but to remain neutral is unkinder and unjust. The one’s who are neutral to any unjust situation are potatoes in human form.
Often, this word is thought as if when one is neutral one is being just, but in reality, it adds unnecessary compassion for people who do not deserve it.
“You’re evil, you know that?” I said.
She grinned and shook her head. “Chaotic Neutral, sugar.”Ready Player One (Ernest Cline)
Take for example when there are two sides having their own views which are in direct conflict with each other – to take a neutral perspective and to analyze the good and bad of both points are meaningless. It is the value preference that one must consider.
The Moral Crisis and Neutrality
In our life, indeed in life of every society and nation, time comes when things go wrong. That time, one has to indeed take side of what is right and what is wrong. One cannot spend time in the hallucination of neutral well being that everything is running smooth and good.
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”Elie Wiesel
There are people who willingly remain neutral, there are others who are lured to the benefits of being neutral. Yes – remaining neutral keeps ones money and social status and powers intact. Fear and greed make one overlook things that needs to be addressed. This overlooking of the things, considering systemic wrongs as aberration, and going silent, or remaining silent because that supposedly keeps oneself in peace, is accepting and abetting the wrong aspects. In doing such, at the individual level one is only adding to ones own wrongness and perpetuating it.
Neutrality does not make one Kind, nor gives Security
Neutrality has this strange characteristic – a veil, which one may use to say that one is being fair in dealing a particular situation by taking various sides into account. This is laziness. Even dictionary describes neutrality as, “absence of decided views, expression, or strong feeling.”
“Silence isn’t neutrality; it is supporting the status-quo.”Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
In some ways, being neutral may appear to be kindness, in reality it is greatly unkind to those who are at the receiving end of the oppression or any form of unethical conduct or toxicity.
Throughout history, we find laws have been made in name of neutrality, which benefited the privileged, and suppressed the people down the line. However, such unjust situation matured to historic moments when systems were overthrown and replaced by newer systems.
Being Neutral is not balance, and is Immoral
People think of neutrality as balance, but it is not so. Equal things can be balanced, unequal things cannot be balanced. One cannot find good and bad points of racism/casteism. One cannot balance violence with peace.
It is primarily the rich and those with power who speak of remaining neutral and don’t take a stance to any situation, or at best their position is one of hypocrisy. If those people who have resources remain neutral in times of crisis, there is no greater shame in their existence.
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”Dante Alighieri
One has to call something that is patently wrong as wrong and one cannot overlook things that keep going in one’s relation with others, or the society around us. Remaining neutral in such times does not have the haziness of being amoral, but the negatives of being immoral.
One needs to examine ones value preference, when faced with things one considers as patently unjust. At times the reactions may be inarticulate, but that doesn’t mean that the resistance to the wrong is unjust or unkind. Resisting wrong is exercising value preference, and not remaining neutral. Acceptance of all situations as it is, is not a good life philosophy, One needs to stand up to ones values.
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