Wednesday, 11 July 2012


On the same vein as unclear thinking, I have been, several times over, accused of having no opinion not just for my common practice of neglecting to express it, but also for the fact that I will readily bat for either team provided I have sufficient knowledge and information for the defence.

When I was younger (and that statement instantly made me feel a hundred years old) I had very set opinions about everything. It was much easier to solve things by classifying them as black or white.

These days I've come to favour shades of grey. And by "shades of" I mean there is no set "better good" or "lesser evil" with the former phrase being not just nonexistent but also problematic grammatically.


Growing up, I've seen all my blacks and whites slowly broken down and blended in various ways with its opposite. I've found that there are very few things now that I would consider to be my absolutes and even then, I often feel like these absolutes will eventually be broken down if not for my sheer determination to keep to them.

Eventually I learned to study both black and white. I glean as much information as I can about each side and soon found myself able to argue for either side of any topic I have knowledge of. I've found that it's a good way to learn about different things, though there is a very definite catch to the ability to do this.

During one class way back at university, a very loud, opinionated, at the very least effeminate classmate (description to give an idea of the kind of person doing the criticizing, not criticizing the kind of person he is) accused me of not having a "proper" belief because I accept the beliefs and opinions of all religions and only hold on to the fact that there is a God and these religions are simply different means of communicating with him.

(Note: We will not discuss this particular predilection any further than mentioning it. It is not something I like discussing when I'm not face to face with the person I'm talking to as this discussion leaves so much open and has too many facets even for a single tête à tête.)

Though perhaps not the best example of any fence-sitter moment I've had, it was the first time I was called one. And the moment when I decided to claim it.

The thing here is that people associate fence-sitting, normally, with having no opinion. On my part, I see it as the ability to look at the bigger picture. It doesn't mean I haven't lost my sense of what my personal blacks and whites are. To me, it only means that I have come to the point where I can respectfully accept others' opinions, learn from them, and either use their opinions to strengthen my own beliefs or expand them.

This hasn't stopped me from arguing to the bitter end, so to speak, whenever the moment is called for and regardless of whether I am right or wrong. (Usually these types of debates end with "Let's agree to disagree and move on.") And my closest friends know me for never backing down unless I have been proven conclusively wrong.

I suppose the main point here is that I would like to claim "fence-sitting" as something not borne out of indecisiveness or a lack of an opinion but a means of observation. For as long as one is open, there is much that can be gleaned from either side of an argument and often, compromises are or can be made that allow for easier transitions when it comes to changing things, and allows for general satisfaction for all involved.

Until the next debate.

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