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Second thoughts.

Second Thoughts.
Write a one sentence position you feel strongly about, a principle.
Then, write a "second thought" on the same subject. It should be a thought that you feel is valid to some extent.
Then, question that second thought, and so on until you have gone back and forth ten times.
At the end, repeat the initial sentence.
This activity should reveal the complexity of seemingly settled positions, making the writer think about her views.

Example:

  • I don't cross picket lines.
  • But, picket lines can be set up for the wrong reasons, like in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville strike.
  • But, crossing picket lines is not a good way to fight against bad union policies.
  • But, does it make sense to have such an inflexible policy?
  • If you don't have an inflexible policy, you lose that feeling of a basic truth or principle.
  • Why do we need to have rules or basic truths? Why not admit that we live on the slippery slope?
  • The key is action, which requires decisiveness.
  • But this idea can be used to crush dissent or questioning.
  • But, in the flow of action and reflection, we can reflect on our actions. In the moment where action is called for, we need to have unity and cooperation.
  • But we need to have the freedom to draw the line differently, to choose one principle over another.
  • But we are a group, not just a collection of individuals.
  • I don't cross picket lines.

Ten different reasons.
Take a statement about something you do.
Write a reason for it.
Then, write a different reason for it. The reason should be true.
Repeat until you have ten alternative reasons for the same thing.
The idea is to generate enough alternatives that something unexpected emerges.

  • I didn't vote for Obama.
    [Why not?]
  • Because I did not want to vote for the same old system.
    [Alternative/additional reasons:]
  • Because I wanted to vote for someone who I would be happy to see win.
  • Because I haven't yet voted for a Democratic or Republican candidate for president.
  • Because I didn't think the huge breakthrough in race was enough to justify voting for the policies he represented.
  • Because I don't do what others expect unless I think it's the right idea.
  • Because I want to see fundamental change in the US.
  • Because Obama's positions were largely conservative.
  • Because I have seen many Democrats make big promises about change only to do the same things as the Republicans.
  • Because my interests are not those of the 1%.
  • Because I want to see an alternative in politics.
  • Because I want to have integrity.
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