FIELD NOTES blog » Why you don’t want to be right

Why you don’t want to be right

Saturn is currently marching through Scorpio [that’s if you’re reading this before October 2015!]– all you Scorps with birthdays in mid-November feeling the pressure?

Scorpio is always about lessons in power. Both clean and dirty. And Saturn can be so righteous.

I’ve been getting lots of little messages about rightness and righteousness (bad for the heart – but more on that another day) – and the fine line between them.

About being the one who’s right, or who has the right to do stuff (unimpeded).

We are, of course, in this society, finely attuned to looking out for the congruence between power and rightness. You know the drill – we see it enough in the overblown verbiage of politicians. Even the most reasonable of people can be prone to respect rightness and give into its domineering nature.

I want to call rightness out for the tyrant it is.

Even while I know it’s a slave master (I’m a recovering perfectionist), like everyone, I love the easy currency of it. We are sucked into it’s simple promises.

We say: “You’re right about that” and “I have the right to do it”.

When everything’s alright we can breathe a sigh of relief and settle down securely.

And what about being present, is it really about being ‘right here, right now’?

I say that if we are to break the spell we need to find new ways to express what we really want to be saying.

And yet how else can we talk about these things and still communicate our assured sense that there is something here that works, that is appropriate, that fits, that is in every way what we describe as ‘right’?

being all right

I’m constantly looking for alternative ways to talk about getting stuff ‘right’. And its damned tough call. Sometimes I just give in and say ‘right’, after all, its easier to talk about it like that and everyone understands what I mean. My nearest and dearest are always getting frustrated by my need to pull words apart to examine the bones of how we think.

I reckon that if we recognise how much words shape our thinking we are halfway to changing the world.

I’m not just talking NLP here. I’m talking about fundamental structures in Western thought that are never challenged.

Like the fact that white people do not exist. (Sorry, if you’ve been thinking of yourself that way for a while now. But go put on a white shirt and take a good look in the mirror. What colour are you, really?)

English is a pretty amazing language. Evocative, dextrous, adaptive.
This makes sense because it’s a fairly recent advance in the technology that is language. It’s a hybrid language, a mongrel with too many bloodlines. Which is why we have such silly spelling conundrums, like threw and through, and rough and though, and, how do you even say ‘slough’? …. Well, you get the picture.

So back to rightness.
Sometime ago, in the early days of my philosophical journey, I learnt that there was even a bias in left and right. To be left-handed is not only to struggle with scissors and power tools. It’s to be left behind, and to never be right.

When we head on back to Latin it’s the difference between the sinister and the dextrous. Lefties are not to be trusted. The righteousness of one’s position gives authority, especially for those on the right-hand side of God.

I realised that being right, and doing right is part of this tyranny of perfection.

Because of course, nothing is ever all right, or it’s decidedly out of balance.
So why do we keep wanting to be alright? Can’t we just talk about this in another way and make things easier for everybody?

I propose we think a bit more like Spanish speakers about this matter. When it comes to being in the present moment, Spanish has a much more precise description – ahora mismo literally says ‘now the same’. This same ‘now’ is the ever-present moment. No need for right now, or left behind.

Aaaaah, is the sound of my sigh of relief, no-one being judged right or wrong for being out of time!

Instead of declaring ‘you’re right’ when someone utters a thought that we feel the correctness of, in Spanish you can say ‘de acuerdo’ – meaning ‘I’m in accord with you’. A synching of minds. How much sweeter and more easeful that sounds than ‘you’re right’, or ‘that’s right’.

Of course it relates to our expression ‘I agree’, and yet it’s subtly different.
Maybe because in saying ‘de acuerdo’ you don’t need this dominant capital “I”, centre of the individual universe. (But the dominance of the “I” in English is, like righteous indignation, another story for another day).

Accord stems from the Latin root cor & cordis meaning heart.
In accord is the in-synch of a heartbeat. Harmony and coherence.

When de acuerdo we are simply in synch with another.
No-one has to be right, we simply have to be in accord, in balance. To fit together.

As fine a balancing act as maintaining the space between left and right, to be sure, but the subtle undertones of constant judgement are no longer hanging around like a bad smell.

I don’t want things to be ‘alright with the world’.
I want to be in accord, in harmony and coherence. It’s a much more relaxing way to think about how I’m going through my day. And how I’m feeling ahora mismo.

Who else wants to join me in a world where everything doesn’t have to be all right?

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