What’s Wrong With Taking a Stand? (and how a cuboctahedron might show us!)

Whenever we feel strongly about a thing,  we may feel (usually when our belief/opinion is somehow being challenged) like ‘Taking a Stand’; Standing Up For (or Upon) a Principle, an Ideal or our own personal POV (Point Of View).

We add strength to our own belief/opinion/argument by standing with, or upon, a ‘proven’ belief/opinion/argument that has been established by many others before us. Well, usually we do – although rarely someone will have a very firm standing based upon just their own opinions; people like da Vinci, Einstein, Copernicus and others who went against the common thought because they could see things from a different perspective than the rest had become used to!) There can be power in siding with the numbers – it doesn’t mean, however, that you will always be in the right because of it. Many people in pre-war Germany and Japan came to realise this to their cost.

Fortunately for us, most of the times we do this we generally manage to make a right decision, or at least what turns out to be right for the majority who followed and stood by/with their fellow thinkers while those who didn’t probably saw things differently and suffered somehow because of it, but as long as we were on the ‘winning’ side we tended not to think about such things too much as it can make us a little uncomfortable to think about those who saw things in a different way; from a different POV, and had to suffer for it even though in pretty much most other respects they were the same as us.

But this is getting a bit too philosophical and my intention was to use a very practical demonstration of a quite simple concept anyone can follow, which can clearly be understood by all as to what the actual problem with taking a stand is!

Taking a stand implies we choose a place to stand (on) that is hopefully immovable therefore making us similarly unable to be moved from what we believe to be a firm, right and just position from which we see a thing. Ideally it is a ‘high’ place which gives us the clearest overall view of the thing we are holding on to or standing up for. Not many people can see all that clearly while stuck neck deep in a swamp! – Just ask Donald Trump. 🙂

Business next step
A ‘safe’ high place.

Taking a step away from what from our perspective tells us is ‘solid’ is not usually a wise choice, but sometimes the things we see as solid are not as solid as we think and this is plainly so to someone standing somewhere other than where we are as the picture above easily shows.

or to put it a little differently…

Perspective is important

Sometimes the ground we stand on might not be as solid as it looks from our perspective.

Allow me to demonstrate another case where this might be so and we should not necessarily be so sure or certain that our perspective is the only right one (note: it may, in fact, be right for you or someone sharing the same perspective, but that doesn’t make it so for everyone – there can be more than one ‘right’ view of the same object or thing being considered.

Here are two obviously different structures:

The one on the left has a hexagonal shape and every visible angle is (meant to be) equal, namely 60 degrees. The one on the left is square shaped and clearly has no 60 degree angles but ones of either 90 degrees or half that, 45 degrees (humour me here – the stupid vertices would not hold the sticks easily or evenly but you get the idea).

Anyone observing one of these objects would seemingly be right in making the relevant factual statements for each as described above and as they are pretty much contradictory regarding overall shape and method of angular construction would find it very difficult to agree that both pictures were in fact of ONE AND THE SAME THING!!!

And yet this fact is true – there is only one object in existence shown in the two photos above – only the perspective or orientation (place we are standing to view the object) has changed in the two cases.

Where we ‘stand’ – our point of view, or our perception – largely determines what it is we see.

The object is a cuboctahedron – a 16 faced polyhedron (3D structure). Hard as it might be to believe every link in both photos is exactly one ‘unit’ in length – all 36 of them. The 12 outer vertices all fit onto a perfect sphere (ideally!) of radius = 1 unit while at the same time fitting onto a perfect cube with a side length of 1.414 ( √ 2) units. You ‘make’ one by simply cutting off all 8 corners of any cube such that you cut equal amounts off all 8 until you ‘meet’ in the middle of any given side of the original cube.

cuboctohedron 4

Here’s a 3rd view of the cuboctahedron which might let you start to see the whole thing better. The outer faces are all either equilateral triangles or squares, both of side length = 1. Every square shares a side with 4 triangles and every triangle shares a side with 3 squares. When it rests on a triangle face it is easier to see the 60 degree hexagon shape (from 12 different points of view) while when it rests on a square face it is easier to see the cube/90 or 45 degree shape (from 6 different again perspectives/places to take a stand).

All the pictures above show two ways having just one perspective of a thing can lead you into incorrect thinking – believing that you are right in your view while someone seeing something different to you could not be right or standing on firm ground not knowing all the facts about where you are viewing from versus where someone else might be seeing the same situation from.

These are just two out of potentially millions of different ways we might choose to view things in our everyday life.


It doesn’t always pay to believe that your first choice is the only, or even the best perspective to view a thing from.


Maybe if we all realise this and act accordingly we might just have a more peaceable and agreeable world to share?




  1. Cool! I had a discussion on this topic with a friend ten years ago. Glad it’s still alive and well! I love that we could be looking at the same thing, but have completely different interpretations and “see” differently. It makes life exciting! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘Exciting’ – Yesss. That’s the word…..?? ( 🙂 )

      Am i wrong in thinking a little more concensus/ mutually shared perspectives is no bad thing?? 🙂

      Thanks for all your intelligent responses Sa. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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