It's easily the most divisive thing we do over and over again in our lifetimes.
I would argue that it happens as early as the pre-school playground. That's when the process of losing our innocence begins. Suddenly, selfishness, greed and meanness rear their ugly, little heads and the next thing you know, we're digging in our heels in kiddie sandboxes from Malibu to Mauritius.
It's no joke. In fact, it's really the seed of everything divisive that leads to small disagreements to major conflicts to out and out war. And rationalization and justification are among the most powerful tools in its arsenal. What am I talking about?
I'm not talking about "taking sides" or even "choosing sides." I'll save those for another day. I'm referring to "picking sides." For me, "picking" sort of implies that political considerations are involved. You’re cherry picking. You're doing what's mainly in your own political interest without regard for how your selfish actions are affecting other people. Picking sides means you're defiantly plucking that big, red, juicy apple from the tree knowing there will indeed be fallout, but hoping no one finds you out.
Picking sides is almost always about political expediency as opposed to doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do. The right thing to do? Please. That went out the window way back in the kiddie sandbox. And if it's not addressed in the kiddie sandbox, it goes on and on and on and becomes formidable pathology. Then, in adulthood, everyone is looking back to see where it all began.
Look, we all do it. I've done it, you've done it ... and if we don't wake up, we'll continue to do it. But here's the thing that cracks me up. Let's suppose that you've just picked sides for whatever "reason." Usually, when we pick sides, we still want to be seen as "the good guy." Because of that, we'll rationalize and justify and then, out and out deny that we're picking sides.
At this point, politics are clearly involved and we're dragging our heels of denial and back-pedaling and tap dancing like Sammy Davis, but it's too late. You totally look like a red, flashing-neon, self-serving idiot. Everybody in the room sees the truth. When denial is your defense mechanism, guilt is written all over your face like sunburn. It's a hot mess.
The world is soaking and sopping wet in examples of picking sides. Again, when we "pick sides," we do it because there's something in it "for us." Picking sides means we have a shot at winning something ... whatever that may be.
We pick sides in everything from politics to religion to race relations to family issues to sports to workplace disputes ... you name it. I could give plenty of examples and illustrations, but you know full well what I'm talking about so none are necessary. Search yourself. And remember, denial is a formidable, yet detectable tool.
I've done it, you do it, we all do it.
Here's the real problem with picking sides. It makes our VAST UNIVERSE ... so much smaller. When we pick sides, we engage in trifling, nonsensical, ultimately inconsequential, tiny things that are often fodder for any “Real Housewives of Wherever” episode. We actually nit-pick and back-bite like obnoxious little mosquitoes out for blood for no meaningful reason.
When we pick sides, we become like fleas swarming around the asses of cows rather than enlightened human beings who are actually working together to advance mankind, society and the planet. It's humiliatingly small, but of course, in order to feel the actual humiliation, you'd have to be aware of it, which you're not because you're too busy wallowing in the mud. Even cows hate fleas.
I'm not sure whether it's comical or tragic. Picking sides is extremely destructive. It really is the highway to chaos and confusion. It opens the door to eternal division.
We pick sides everywhere. We do it at home, on the job, in the boardroom, on the golf course, while standing in line at Target, in the dentist waiting room, at the auto-body shop, outside the country club, inside the country club, at the DMV, in front of the television that's spitting out cable news, in the library, at Starbucks ... no venue and no person is immune. When we pick sides, we get trapped in the minutiae of everything and we forget to see the BIG, GRAND and liberating picture of how we were created and meant to live.
In short, we lose the BIG picture.
One final thought. I don't know about you, but I really believe that the universe is a very peaceful place. The universe IS peace. Things like meteor showers, tornadoes, tsunamis and so forth, are really aberrations. I sort of see them as God's washing machine. Everything needs a good cleaning and airing out now and then ... nature included.
But here's the thing. When we "pick sides," we ignite a chain of events that promote disharmony amid our vast galaxies. We're the ones who are doing that, not nature and certainly not God. We're doing it. We're poking the bear and tempting fate. We’re creating the confusion.
The next time you get a chance, take a look at the night sky. Just stand there or lie there, if you really want to get into it, and SEE what's going down up there. Nothing but harmony. The universe really is a peaceful place. Everything else is aberration. It's all happening perfectly up there. Synchronicity to the max ...
And absolutely nothing up there is picking sides. We're supplying the aberration and while we're up there in a spaceship exploring the cosmos, we're actually bringing all of our human baggage and junk with us.
If Martians existed and if I were a Martian looking down at Earth, I'd be saying ...
"I don't think so! Keep your mess down there! You’ve got a whole lot of evolving to do before you come up here. That's IF we let you in. NO THANKS!"