The Dangers of Polarised Thinking

“Only the Sith think in absolutes” Star Wars

Despite me making a cantankerous post about Iran I can see both sides to this. Iran is a very corrupt regime and will most likely fall well before any war with the West. But I can see how there could be a credible threat not just to Israel but to the security of the UK and other countries. Not that I agree with the reasoning around this issue ! There is a tendency to instantly lump people into the “for” or “against” camp. What if I can see both sides ? Where does that leave me ?

Iraq. I can see an illegal war and some corruption. But I can also see the other side. The decision to go to war was no doubt not entirely based on the “45 minute” claim or Blair’s “dodgy dossier” alone. That would have been irresponsible of those tasked with protecting our country, and it’s simply not the way they work. I listened to a talk with a lady who was a former Director of MI5. She was simply not thinking in the cartoon terms that so called “peaceniks” and “activists,” and especially conspiracy theorists, paint these people up as thinking in.

Here we have an odd beast at work. The Polarised Thought. Either / Or, Yes / No. Binary Logic. It’s almost the reasoning of a machine. There’s a certain amount of fear there. What will my acitvist friends think if I admit that I can see why we went to war in Iraq ? Will I be ostracised ? Attacked ?

Where did we decide that if you can see how “the other side” came to a conclusion that you automatically agree with those decisions ? I missed that meeting. What’s at stake here is understanding rather than these knee jerk reactions that force people into either “peacenik” or “warmonger” camps. We have to get beyond this kind of polarised thinking. The better or more experienced employees in the the public services simply don’t follow this type of thinking. It would not be in their interests and is a mode of thinking not born out of raw experience or learning how to deal with everyday realities. The Polarised Thinking seems to be born from our star studded media culture. Philosophers. People with books to sell and that oddest of beasts … The Conspiracy Theorist. Listen to the more misguided of that type and you will hear … absolutes. Its polarised. There is none of the messy, fine grained spectrum of everyday realities in the way that they speak. They go too far because their thought is massively skewed, polarised, like an unbalanced circuit.

Nobody likes war, or evil, or some of the more unpleasant characters out there. But the passions must be ruled to a certain extent. A balance between logic and revulsion at the more horrid abuses that go on in our world. Because becoming polarised has not been helping. We need understanding.

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