Is it that our emotional attachment to a cause rattles some internal equilibrium, making us lean to either end of the perceived political spectrum? Is there a paucity of the reason that goes unnoticed in the making of a political leaning? Is the philosophy of Centrism the last refuge of human civilization?
There is an idea that humans are born emotional, not rational: A child thinks by heart, not head. Therefore, the act of living in society becomes an attempt to achieve rational equilibrium of thought; The process of socialization, a means of achieving tranquillity so profound, that reason extinguishes all inner biases. Man, alone, has developed unsurpassable intellect; Man, alone, can possibly shrug off sudden, unthinking emotionality in favour of greater refinement of thought. All of this makes a strong case for tri-polarity of political spectrum, and accords Centrism a rightful place in discussions of such a nature.
The head and the heart: a precarious balance
In an increasingly divisive and volatile political milieu, the act of reason is a weapon against hatred. The reason, however, demands investigative scrutiny into the sequence of events that led to a societal tragedy. Needless to say, most people detour around this taxing work, never developing their line of thought beyond the first emotion that riled up in them. Strings of impulsive feeling are what bind you to a political wing; the inherently human desire for justice is what pulls you along. Unsurprisingly, advocates of Centrism argue that political leanings might as well be our morality manifest: a veneer of blind feeling that cuts out any possibility of a rational appraisal of issues.
Centrism is not grounded in the renunciation of human emotions. Rather, it empowers an individual to rise above the first tide of sentimentality into the light of mature appraisal and wisdom. The victory over excessive emotion, and consequent personal growth, are what define Centrism. India possesses a long-standing tradition of centrality. Jaina philosophy talks about ‘pluralistic realism’ or the non-existence of an absolute Truth. Any occurrence has innumerable dimensions, and the truth you encounter is just as valid as the truth of another person. There are only as many realities as there are humans on Earth.
Centrism is the balance of a multiplicity of truths, the point of equilibrium between two wide emotive oscillations. Even the Bhagwad Gita talks of every human possessing a mere slice of the sum total of truths. In such a scenario, how can your interpretation be any more accurate than another’s? To a leftist, the conservatism on the right may be appalling, a repulsive inability to expand the horizons of the mind. To a rightist, however, the same conservatism may be sourced in cultural pride.
The left is arrogant and dismissive of the academic highhandedness it shows in restricting knowledge behind bars of elitism; the right refuses to acknowledge the flaws and fallacies in its traditionalism. Neither wing wishes to communicate with the other, and humanity continues down the path of unprecedented division. This fairly recent model of society is unlikely to sustain; only physical violence would answer the mental bloodshed of dividing the masses this way. There are rising concerns worldwide that perhaps these ever sharpening shards of politicality are spectres of a more heinous violence. Centrism proposes a bridge to the division that threatens civilization.
Centrism is viewed with a great deal of suspicion by either side. While the right regards centrists as confuse ‘fence-sitters’, the left alleges them to be soft rightists. Understandably, after a decade or so of escalating hopelessness over human rights conditions the world over, the ray of hope generates not joy but fear. While this fear generates much satire on centrism, a lot of the mockery draws on myths about the philosophy. Is Centrism hypocrisy? Is it really the same old, same old apolitical in a new guise? I approached the student body of DU seeking their opinions.
Majority (of centrists) are hypocrites.-Akshita Ramola, student at Hindu College
(in light of centrists agreeing with different opinions of both left and right)
A dual dynamic arises in response to this common perception: Firstly, the very idea of Centrism is covering this wide chasm between the left and the right for which purpose it is wont to pick up pointers from either wing. The allegation of hypocrisy, however, would be true for those who most often call out just one side under the garb of centrism. The balance of centrism being difficult and its image in society as yet precarious, even a few non-serious followers tarnish its image.
At times, centrism and apoliticality are considered synonymous. Centrists are called out for apathy on issues. Closer scrutiny of Centrism presented herein, however, shows the true nature of the philosophy.
Centrists most certainly have political opinions, which defies the idea of being apolitical. Being apolitical kind of throws a person out of the entire political spectrum.-Amitoj Kalsi, Hindu College
Again, centrists pick viewpoints from all parties involved and call out the social wrongs sufficiently enough to not warrant the tag of apathetic.
Though one can argue that being an apolitical when there’s so much wrong is also political.Amitoj Kalsi, Hindu College
Finally, even the act of being a neutral, apolitical observer is inherently political; it is reflective of the individual’s privileged silence on atrocities. When even the personal is political, and apoliticality doesn’t truly exist, then how can centrists be accused of it? Thus I propose Centrism as the need of this epoch.
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