Photo credit: Ralf Weiser (tunnel vision)
It is all but impossible to escape the divisive political hubbub wherever you go and wherever you look. What am I to believe? So much of it is outright pushed on to us with a social media ferocity unlike anything anyone has ever experienced. It gets delivered spoon ready for our consumption. It is overwhelming to say the least.
It has become more important to be first rather than correct in delivering content. Where does the truth lie – and that is Truth spelled with a capital T? 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? 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 beings 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 of severe political divisiveness 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. It usually puts you into a one way path of stagnant personal growth. Avoid a tunnel vision approach to finding the Truth (see photo).
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?
The only anti-dote to getting baited by your good old lizard brain is free independent thought – no matter which political belief you follow. Spend the time and effort obtaining news and vital decision-making information from a broad spectrum of sources. Do to not be baited by polarization through one the same sources; resist becoming a pawn in a game not fitting where your life’s journey should be taking you. Such a waste of human potential would be just additional insult to injury.