Are crazy polarities the only way we can think about life now??

We have to be a Republican or a Democrat.

We have to be liberal or a conservative.

We have to love Apple or hate them.

We have to love Microsoft or hate them.

For me to be right you have to be wrong.

For my company to win, yours has to lose.

The whole fabric of our thinking seems to be based on scarcity, not abundance.  Built on fear, not love.

This is a dangerous, zero-sum game we are playing.

While I understand how this dichotomization of society continues to happen (our incessantly hyperbolic media is not helping, of course), the truth is that polarities, while interesting thought experiments, are rarely helpful in real life. They tend to bifurcate our culture and make us intolerant to nuance (at best; they make us completely oblivious to nuance at worse). They flatten our world into blacks and whites instead of spectrums of color.

I wonder if a shadowy side-effect of our digital age is that’s it has slowly pushed us all towards being a bit more binary; towards thinking in 1’s and 0’s, on and off, dark or light. I wonder if the resonance of our personal growing echo chambers have subtly infected our ability to see from another person’s perspective and to appreciate viewpoints that don’t originate in our “camp.”

I have some hope, though, that the more “social” world of technology could potentially push us out of our endless choir-preaching, and back into the messy, beautiful fray. True, we may have to electively opt-in to see the bigger world view, but there’s no question that alternative viewpoints are now easier to find than ever before… if we want to see them.

In any case, I’m convinced we need a lot less OR and whole lot more AND.


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