Single Status Update
And afterall, we're only ordinary men.
Right and wrong
Balck and white
Good and evil
Up and down
With and without
Nice and mean
Truth and lies
Fast and slow
Left and right
Front and back
Rich and poor
Demican and republicrat
Smart and dumb
Man and woman
Creation and evolution
Capitalist and communist
Tolerance and intolerance [read: racism/sexism/agism/nationalism/ismism]
Healthy and unhealthy
Man-made and natural
Nature vs nurture
We know things by their opposites. This is part of the basics of how our brain functions and a key part to how we learn. The easiest and most clear-cut way to define something is to say it's "not ___." Take a look at our knowledge of biology: in the dichotomous tree, splits happen where something either is or isn't; has or has not.
Within comradery we find that we are all similar, while within opposition we find out how different we are. Given that we so often find what we seek in life, this is no surprise; if I look for similarities, that is what I'll find. If I look for differences, I'll surely find no end.
Assimilation and accommodation. Fitting something into your current schema and adjusting your schema to fit a new stimulus. But there could never be accommodation without discrimination; you must first learn that there is a difference before your brain can group two otherwise similar things together, otherwise all cats and dogs would still be "kitties" to us, wouldn't they?
Us and them; most of us view ourselves as good, intelligent people. Therefore, any group we belong to will likely share our views on ourself. After all, why would any intelligent person group themselves in with a bunch of stupid people, or a good person with a bunch of evil people, etc? If nothing else, our view of ourself is reflected in our views of those who belong to our same "group," or more-so the group which we choose to belong to. Therefore, we are good, we are intelligent, we are tolerant. By default, if those are defining words for "us," then "they" must have a different set of words to define "them." Given our tendency to split things two, and only two, ways, that makes them by default our opposite. That makes them by default stupid, intolerant, and evil. Otherwise, they would be "us." This is not to argue against a grey area, of course there is one, but we often pretend to be more intelligent than we really are; humans are simple-minded at their core. Our advanced faculties might be capable of questioning if we are, or whether-or-not the shepherd has our best intentions in mind, but at our core we are animals, with the same materials used to make us. Above we may understand more, but underneath the surface this is but an elaborate facade we have made for ourselves.
Back on whatever subject it was, even just by saying "we are tolerant," a person is making a comparison. To nothing specific, of course, but a comparison nonetheless. If everybody in the world were the same level of tolerant, then nobody would describe themselves as tolerant. Same goes with intelligence and good intentions. It's really easy to view "them" as stupid, intolerant, or having bad intentions; too easy, perhaps.
We are all only given one perspective in life. It is impossible for any of us to put ourselves in another's shoes, as we fail at the outset by having been exposed to different stimuli throughout our life/childhood and having learned to be different over time. No matter how similar another person may be to you, in the end there are always differences. Without understanding of this, it would be impossible for two people to be together for long periods of time as two people can never share the exact same perspective. Maybe I didn't pick up on some body language that you did, maybe you were directly involved while I wasn't, or maybe it was actually me and you that got into an argument, in which case the difference is at the front door. Just as we have to be understanding of our peers, fellow members of whoever "us" may be at the time, (and let's not mistake that when we feel a similarity or a bond with anybody, we view them as one of "us" for at least that millisecond in time) we must be understanding of all people.
Who can really pretend to be above the average person? Parhaps one day you were; "any given Sunday" and all that, (for my non-American brothers and sisters: an American football saying; that even the worst team can upset the best team any given Sunday [when most games tended to be held, and still the biggest "game day"]) but perhaps it was just in the categories tested, and perhaps most of all it was just in the categories you knew were tested. We all play the part of the fool in our own time.
What we learn throughout our life shapes who we are, as does what we choose not to learn. It's easy to say that this other person did something or supports something because they are stupid, but that other person has the same thoughts and feelings that you do. When I look back on mistakes I've made, especially the ones that actually amounted to something more than a minor inconvenience and a bit of frustration, it's not that I wasn't thinking, it's that I made a conscious decision to do whatever it was that wound up being a mistake. Even something as simple as getting into an argument with somebody; it's really not too far unlike the skits Dave Chappelle did "When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong." Most people, I beleive, have a filter in their heads of their own actions, though admittedly most of us also don't choose to take full advantage of said filter, especially given that most of the time it's a split-second decision made on a whim.
Follow that along to the things we support and back to the Us and Them: we come to expect certain things out of, for example, political groups (of which this thread mostly isn't about, but the Us and Them situation within politics is rampant and tough to avoid when on this subject). So we learn that group x is terrible and has these horrible notions, though we, on the surface at least, acknowledge that the other group is just as bad. But as bad as group y may be, they're totally not as bad as group x. Even pretending to be an independent, the Us and Them situation is alive and well within our own thoughts; indeed, it's engrained into our learning process. More-so, many independents I talk to are merely disenfranchised with the two-party system we have, yet at the end of the cycle they continue to buy into it with the logic that voting anything but Republicrat or Demican is "throwing your vote away." Think about the fact that over 50% of the people who voted didn't want either of the two criminals. If there were ever a year for a third party, this was it. But we all bought back into the two party system for another go-around. Lol at us. They at least would have been smarter, right? RIGHT?! No. This is of course much the same as people will complain about a business, then continue to support it because "there's nothing else." There was, but we didn't shop there before it went out of business. There likely will be again one day, but when that day comes, we'll look at the prices and shop at the big box store.
We make our own Hell, it would seem.
Once again: Us and Them. And after all, we're only ordinary men.
I don't have any answers, so don't think of this as that, or that I'm ole So-crates and must be put to death or exiled for ridiculous questions/philisophical-rants to make others feel stupid (which is kinda a funny story about human psychology), but it's something I've always found kind of... funny and I've just never been able to figure both why folk recognise one minute, but not the next that we find what we seek in life, as well as how we advance past our own natural tendency to dichotimously disect things into opposing groups. The only answer I could find for myself was to simply consciously look for similarities over differences between groups, enough of which eventually does seep in slowly to the subconscious, but it's a patch over a hole embedded within the fabric of my neural system.
Looking at this now, I guess there was no real point to this rant, or more likely just rambling. Idk, I guess I just see a whole bunch of bullshit being thrown around when most people probably agree with each other anyway, but split hairs and all of a sudden we're dire opposites. I suppose I just feel the want to say something amidst this... circus of activity. We're all dumb, humans are collectively retarded and though one of us may shine today, tomorrow we'll be a moron and yesterday we were a jackass. In a week we might be average, but good luck finding an average when 90% of the population believes they are above it.
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I didn't read everything because fuck but if this is basically a post against black and white thinking then I agree. It is maybe the biggest problem in the whole world. We are wired to thinking that everything is either good or bad, that something is always better than something else, etc. It is psychologically comforting to think like this and to always put some things above other, but it prevents us from seeing the truth.