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Is It Always Right to Be Right? (1970)

The world is divided into factions, on opposite sides of issues; each side is, of course, right. And so the gap between the people grows, until someone challenges the absolutist view of what's "right."

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(as Warren H. Schmidt Ph.D)

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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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The world is divided into factions, on opposite sides of issues; each side is, of course, right. And so the gap between the people grows, until someone challenges the absolutist view of what's "right."

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Animation | Short

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November 1970 (USA)  »

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Siempre es correcto ser correcto?  »

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Thinking The Unthinkable.
31 August 2016 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

It's a brief and penetrating parable about a land in which people thought they must be "right" and to admit otherwise was a sign of weakness. Nobody said, "You might be right." Nobody said, "I could be wrong." The population was divided on many issues and the gulf between them grew.

This won an Academy Award in 1970 and the groups described now look a little dusty with age -- doves and hawks, young and old. But the moral remains the same, though the self-righteous groups are now different.

The message is that we have to overcome our sense of certainty and build bridges across those gulfs to find common ground. It's easier said than done because building a bridge between two antagonistic groups requires at least two heroes, one on each side of the chasm. The heroes must not only appeal to the group across the gulf, who are likely to throw rotten fruit at them because they are "enemies." The heroes must also brave the insults of the group they BELONG to, because they'll be scorned as traitors to the cause or the race.

The issue is tied to the concept of manliness. If an armed man approached Clint Eastwood and ordered him to get out of town, would Clint Eastwood reply, "Can't we sit down and talk this over before one of us gets hurt?" No. No, he wouldn't. Neither would John Wayne. That concept of masculinity is a little limited. Japanese kamikaze pilots left little dolls and haiku behind for their loved ones. On the night before a battle, Greek generals would discuss philosophy and write poems. Any warrior doing that today would have one foot in fairydom.

Those gulfs look wider today that they did forty-five years ago and not much seems to have changed. During his campaign, one man said, "I'm not going to change my mind because it's made up, and I'm not the kind of guy who changes his mind once it's made up." We liked that so much we elected him president.

It's a conundrum and possibly there is no solution. Of course I may be wrong.


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