Baited by our lizard brain
Polarization has not helped anyone. That is except politicians and other people with agendas make use of this extensively. This is similar to the discussion what Truth is. There is your truth and mine. Well, this is very much related to how we look at it and the Truth lies somewhere between us two. Truth with a capital T does exist. Can anyone even perceive what it is without automatically skewing it looking from a personal viewpoint? Polarization may help making a point, but it makes one party a winner and the other a loser – neither is helping by this situation in the long run though. Typically, it can never possibly be one single thing as we can only look at it from our personal vantage point depending where we are on our life’s journeys.
In a world of all shades of gray, it looks so comforting that there is a prospect of paving the way for the polar opposite black and white approach. Polarization of different view points is ironically so attractive to us as we want to know where people stand. Why? Simply put because we are very primal that way. Our lizard brain helped us survive in a very dangerous world. Fight, freeze or flight were the three primary modes we used to survive. Recognizing the things that could hurt of kill us dominated our thinking mode and that made it necessary to figure out which things and beings we could trust and which ones we could not. It is this desire to look for patterns of predictable patterns that our brains want to obtain the trust from that no bad things will happen. Bottom line is that the simple decision making criterion is deciding what is either safe or unsafe.
That is the dynamic that drives us toward polarization of matters. It is much easier – or so it seems – to derive predictability from the polar opposite extremes. If you are too close to the middle it could go either way which may be the better thing to do, but it is too unpredictable. Most of all it takes time to discern what the issue is in the first place. In a time where it seems more important to be first rather than right, this is fertile ground for not making the effort digging a little deeper. It is easier to just go with what seems right. You do not want to lose either as you look for possible threats. Thus you choose the predictable outcome and the comfort of the safety blanket that this thought pattern invokes.
With some exceptions there are very few items in our lives that are universally bad or good. So how do we dare to claim that we are objective but are unwilling to accept that between two viewpoints the truth lies somewhere as a third delta point somewhere as an outlier between the two? Spend the time and effort to not be baited by polarization.