Being placed in the position to argue on a side that is foreign and somewhat uncomfortable for me was something I had not anticipated. Judging from the faces of everyone else around me, I gathered they felt the same way. Yet I have come to realize that this is a vital skill in understanding the other’s side and where they are coming from. If we were to go through life blind to our opposer’s mindsets, how can we succeed and progress? This can be executed through arguing for a different side in a class debate to understanding other countries when negotiating on a larger scale. After last Thursday’s class, I began considering this skill of rationalizing from a different perspective and how it relates to our world as a whole.
Our world would be more compliant and understanding if every nation was capable and willing to step back and observe the world from a different perspective. If we actually did this on a more daily basis, I am confident that the majority of our problems today would be limited and less intense. For example, what if America, in 2003, decided to take that extra minute to consider if Iraq was ready to have a foreign nation invade them? What if these two nations were to have Professor Jackson say, “Now Iraq and America, switch sides and argue from different perspectives!?” I would imagine that our current situation would be quite different.
Furthermore, part of broadening one’s horizons involves feeling uncomfortable and unsure. Being put on edge and feeling slightly wary is all a part of the process. There are times when I feel we, as an individual and as a nation, are too afraid to expand out of our comfort zone. We take our comfort for granted and react harshly when we are proven wrong. Take the issue of raising a mosque near the site of 9/11. This “radical” idea pushed the envelope too far for certain groups of people. Naturally, they reacted in a manner which reflected their comfort beliefs. But what if those who were opposed to the idea stepped back and considered the basic reason as to why this structure is being built?
Just like arguing why Machiavelli was correct in analyzing the control of power, nations around the globe should step back and consider problems from a different angle. Thus, we will be able to progress and form a more accepting environment.