Neutrality Isn’t the Problem

As they pass by Shaerrawedd, a holy site of Elven legends, witcher Geralt of Rivia and his ward, the young Ciri, marvel at the statue of Aelirenn. A fierce Elven warrior, Aelirenn led nearly all of her kind to their deaths some 200 years ago. Fighting humans. Failing.

“Neutrality,” Geralt muses. “It won’t get you a statue, but it’ll certainly help in keeping you alive.”

Of course, though he is not quite ready to admit it, neutrality has long left the chat, even for someone who treads as lightly as Geralt. Especially for him. After all, whoever sides with the child that seems to be the key to a multi-generational war involving every race, party, and kingdom on the map is going to have enemies on all sides.

Thankfully, for you and I, picking a hill and defending it rarely means taking an arrow in the chest. In fact, we do it every day. “Milka tastes better than Hershey’s!” “Children should be homeschooled.” “I’d never go to McDonald’s.” What might get Geralt into trouble is our modern way of collecting brownie points. Unfortunately, because brownies are so delicious, we tend to overdo it. We have opinions on everything, even the things that don’t matter. Especially those. And because we’re so busy being critics, we forget to take a stand for what we truly believe in.

In a world where companies change flags on a monthly basis, losing our neutrality is no longer the issue. The challenge is to sacrifice it for a purpose — and then dial back our opinionatedness everywhere else so we can focus on seeing our mission through. It’s okay to dislike bread, and it’s okay to love it. No one cares. But if you cry over a crippling disability your child is burdened with on a regular basis yet do nothing to help similarly afflicted children, in the long run, that one might sting.

Just like trying to stay neutral won’t necessarily keep you out of trouble, picking a fight might not automatically get you a page in the history books. If you do it for the right reasons and on the right timeline, however, it will ensure you enjoy flicking through your history book once you’re almost done writing it.

Forget neutrality. Pick a side, don’t get lost in petty fights, and make it count.