Today’s Biggest Threat: The Polarized Mind

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From Scientific American: “As the bitter strife between left and right, citizen and noncitizen, white and non-white attest, the greatest threat to humanity today goes beyond political and religious divides, economics, and psychiatric diagnoses. It goes beyond cultural conflicts and even the degradation of the environment—and yet it includes all of these.

As psychologists concerned with the social and psychological bases of human destructiveness, and as dedicated observers of history, we have arrived at the conclusion that so much of what we call human depravity (‘evil’) seems to be based on a principle termed ‘the polarized mind.‘ The polarized mind is the fixation on a single point of view to the utter exclusion of competing points of view, and it has caused more human torment and misery than virtually any other factor. […]

Today we are faced with one of the most polarizing world situations in decades as authoritarian rule has undergone a revival, and we are faced once again with the challenge: Are we going to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the hurts and insults that have led to our divisiveness, thus perpetuating a persistent cycle of human devitalization? Or are we going to consider the findings of our hard-won psychological, spiritual and philosophical disciplines and face the wounds that beset us?

From our vantage point as investigators, there is little question that the latter course is preferable and through mindful, widespread dialogue we see an opening. There are already grassroots movements in this latter direction, and we see our personal interchanges as an aspect of those. But on a larger scale, there are growing opportunities for meaningful cross-cultural exchange and for live person-to-person encounters.”

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Our defenders of the good found the solution to the evil: to destroy the polarized spirit and to launch a great world discussion on how to accept the point of view of others. The boss will discuss with the worker, the officer with the soldier, the United States with the Islamic State, and even Donald Trump will be able to discuss with the immigrants, if he wishes, if he really has the will. Is it not through discussion that the contradictions are resolved, that the “polarized mind” is destroyed?

    And did not Gandhi say his friend Hitler was the only one able to prevent War to happen? That the English, the Jews and the Nazis had to sit together to talk? The contradictions are only in the mind, there are no real contradictions, the whole fault is in the “polarized mind”!

  2. OMG! OMG! TODAY’S BIGGEST THREAT! Brought to you by fear-based persons, who want YOU to be as scared as they are! The POLARIZED MIND! OMG!…. Buddha spoke of this well over 2000 years ago. It’s called “duality”, and it seems to be a basic fact of human existence. Duality explains the whole “polarized” mind, and how to both avoid and escape the traps the polarized, or dualistic, mind creates. Sure, these little “liberal-conservative tea parties” are lots of fun, and do no harm, but gee, that’s a lot of energy to spend on virtue signaling. How will these little tete-a-tetes solve the larger problem of a mass-market, mass-media, the FAKE NEWS media, which wants nothing more than to feed people’s fears, for the profit of the rich? To keep people stupid, scared, emotional, anxious, upset, and NOT thinking clearly? Oh, these guys are shilling a book, too. Oh, I get it. It’s all about the Benjamins. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was…. The more things change, the more they stay the same….