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Thread: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

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    Avalon Member T Smith's Avatar
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    Default Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    The divide between what is loosely categorized as “right” and “left” on the political spectrum has grown so contested and ugly it would seem we are now amid a sociopolitical crisis on a path to political warfare. Bigotry and hatred have supplanted rational discussion and discourse; emotion and rage now dominate the cornerstone of nearly every political argument. Very prominent Hollywood actors and famous musicians risk their careers and reputations and fan base to publicly cast hatred, rage, and vitriol against the perceived enemy. And while there has always been political polarization, healthy societies maintain the tacit tenet to agree to disagree; our situation circa 2019 presents a divide so disparate between the left and right that manners no longer apply; political tribes are aligning against each other, arguably to what seems a precursor to physical conflict. This dynamic has permeated even the closest of relationships and has torn apart families and long-standing marriages and is even presenting an existential threat to the stability of political parties at large. Given this milieu it would seem there is little chance to bridge a resolution of peace and understanding between bitterly divided political tribes, firmly entrenched in a cold war (for now) that ever threatens to go hot given the right trigger.

    Recently in a thread here on Avalon a few members got into a stone-throwing contest while expressing their political views and were issued a temporary time-out by the mods to cool their heads. What struck me was the name-calling pejoratives from rational and thoughtful members whose posts are mostly reasonable and respectful and thoughtful. What especially struck me was the degree to which one of the members took the opposition point of view so personally.

    What is going on here? I’m not so much interested in arguments defending or advancing positions from the left or right—although we can certainly delve into political discourse in this tread if it serves the question—as much as I want to try to understand what is at the bottom of the hatred and rage and mob mentality of the political discourse that affects each of us so personally, and how this rage has devolved into the seeming inability of otherwise intelligent and rational people to understand or at least respect the opposing political point of view? I am reminded of George Orwell’s Two Minutes of Hate, although it would seem Orwell’s prophetic dynamic of mob mentality more accurately describes a sort of 24/7 kind of rage prevalent in our current political discourse. Is this balkanization manufactured? Is it a psyop? Or is this just an organic ramification of our violent and warring proclivities as a species? Are some differences truly irreconcilable and is war and violence inevitable? As a final question, for those of us who believe all human conflict is ultimately reconcilable—preferably without violence--what can we do about it?
    Last edited by T Smith; 29th May 2019 at 01:41.

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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    " Is it a psyop? Or is this just an organic ramification of our violent and warring proclivities as a species?"

    Its a psyop. IMO. Every specie human included has an innate behavior to preserve or defend oneself. But its not to the point as you describe. Until some group or entity put fuel into this behavior so much so that it grows out of proportion and became as you describe. Where does religions come from? What about the movies which are almost all violent and senseless?

    You see as a specie of goodwill it use to be unimaginable to us that some of our kind will do such horrible thing to us, until just lately we have come to realize it. And that is the first step towards correction, Realization of what is wrong. One such realization is such as you express. So chill out we are on our way to a better world.

    "what can we do about it?"

    "Be the change you wanted to see" G

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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Quote Posted by T Smith (here)
    The divide between what is loosely categorized as “right” and “left” on the political spectrum has grown so contested and ugly it would seem we are now amid a sociopolitical crisis on a path to political warfare. Bigotry and hatred have supplanted rational discussion and discourse; emotion and rage now dominate the cornerstone of nearly every political argument. Very prominent Hollywood actors and famous musicians risk their careers and reputations and fan base to publicly cast hatred, rage, and vitriol against the perceived enemy. And while there has always been political polarization, healthy societies maintain the tacit tenet to agree to disagree; our situation circa 2019 presents a divide so disparate between the left and right that manners no longer apply; political tribes are aligning against each other, arguably to what seems a precursor to physical conflict. This dynamic has permeated even the closest of relationships and has torn apart families and long-standing marriages and is even presenting an existential threat to the stability of political parties at large. Given this milieu it would seem there is little chance to bridge a resolution of peace and understanding between bitterly divided political tribes, firmly entrenched in a cold war (for now) that ever threatens to go hot given the right trigger.

    Recently in a thread here on Avalon a few members got into a stone-throwing contest while expressing their political views and were issued a temporary time-out by the mods to cool their heads. What struck me was the name-calling pejoratives from rational and thoughtful members whose posts are mostly reasonable and respectful and thoughtful. What especially struck me was the degree to which one of the members took the opposition point of view so personally.

    What is going on here? I’m not so much interested in arguments defending or advancing positions from the left or right—although we can certainly delve into political discourse in this tread if it serves the question—as much as I want to try to understand what is at the bottom of the hatred and rage and mob mentality of the political discourse that affects each of us so personally, and how this rage has devolved into the seeming inability of otherwise intelligent and rational people to understand or at least respect the opposing political point of view? I am reminded of George Orwell’s Two Minutes of Hate, although it would seem Orwell’s prophetic dynamic of mob mentality more accurately describes a sort of 24/7 kind of rage prevalent in our current political discourse. Is this balkanization manufactured? Is it a psyop? Or is this just an organic ramification of our violent and warring proclivities as a species? Are some differences truly irreconcilable and is war and violence inevitable? As a final question, for those of us who believe all human conflict is ultimately reconcilable—preferably without violence--what can we do about it?
    Excellent post - one of the very best this week. Thank you
    “If a man does not keep pace with [fall into line with] his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” - Thoreau

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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    The pattern starts at the family level...siblings fighting each others... added to the conflicts between generations and the parents vs children... then the template goes onto family feuds... onto family communities with respect to other family communities... clans... tribes... nations... and on and on and on.

    The only known system to have some influence in curbing this human condition is "education," whether religious or secular and which foster more or less cohesive cultures... I think.

    It all reduces to the anatomy of "Belief" which I would describe as a ball of emotional energy with an "idea" as its core. Change the "idea" and the whole yarn of dynamics changes with it.

    A change of a core idea can be achieved with putting on "others' shoes" or meditation or whatever introspective method one is comfortable with and which empaths can undertake. Psychopaths on the other hand are just unable to even question their ideas and motives.
    Last edited by Hervé; 29th May 2019 at 12:21.
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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    I know this will will sound very simplistic but at the root of the issue is the following:" I am right and I want the world to reflect what I want it to be". There also seems to be a growing unwillingness to even hear or read something that conflicts with what one believes. At a core spiritual level the problem evolves from a lack of acceptance and an inability or unwillingness to find effective solutions or to accept that which can not be changed.

    T Smith, thank you for taking the time to write such an articulate, thought provoking post. You really identified the issue and asked great questions.
    Last edited by peterpam; 29th May 2019 at 12:29.

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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    I think the reason we are at this point is because we have been walking along with unstated assumptions.

    Now, we have reached a point where the unstated assumptions are being challenged.

    One of the things that Voice most recently posted about the US constitution was that there is no separation between church and state.

    For an american to be openly stating this and believing it means that his understanding of the constitution and mine are different enough to not reconcilable.

    Why are we having the atmosphere we have today? Things of this nature. There are people who really believe that America is a christian nation. Despite that being able to mean many things(catholic, eastern orthodox, oriental orthodox, protestant, baptist, mormon, etc.)

    We are all carrying an Idea of what America(or freedom, democracy, equality) is supposed to be and we are finally seeing that some people dont actually believe in: no mater what color your skin, no matter what religion, no matter what culture, as long as you believe in liberty, equality, and justice FOR ALL and can live by those rules then you should be welcome in America.

    This is where we start. We state our principles and see if the people around us have the same.

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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    When I was young, in the seventies, the very early eighties, in Europe, the definition of left / right made sense to me. It was so easy, or at least it seemed to be. Left meant being socialist, progressive, rebellious, utopian, urban, self-organizing, creating a better future, modern art and literature, change . . . Right meant being capitalist, conservative, supporting the status quo, representing state-interests, glorifying the past, autoritharian, stubborn, backwards, alpine folkmusic . . .

    Of course I was leftist. In the course of the last 20, 30 years the attributions have become meaningless to a large extent. Subject matters I‘d expect to be addressed by the traditional left (an oxymoron in itself!) are discussed soundly by the socalled right. I got disgusted with many positions of the former left. It is clear that there are the good-hearted but blind ones and there are the unscrupulous, highly intelligent manipulators on both sides. Well, I still suspect there are more ruthless on the right and more numbed on the left . . . I‘m working on it

    It was a long way to leave those categories behind and I‘m not done yet. When we can‘t do without categorizations at all (or at least without putting people, their beliefs, their actions, their world view) in a certain context - it would be better to see them as more or less awaken or still numbed, maybe. There is no reason to reject or hate the lesser awakened.

    Whenever I notice falling back into repeating old patterns I just have to ask myself: the few strange individuals in power and their legion of minions who want to weaken, poison and enslave us, who want us on our knees and want us to starve if we don‘t accept being chipped - are they left or right?

    There are some members here posting who I highly appreciate although (or maybe because) I wouldn‘t agree with them on a single statement. They challenge my thought processes and that‘s a good thing. I never noticed some of the longstanding ‚conservatives‘ here being really rude. But maybe being no native speaker helps, so I just don‘t get it.
    Last edited by Iloveyou; 29th May 2019 at 14:45.

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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Quote Posted by Iloveyou (here)
    When I was young, in the seventies, the very early eighties, in Europe, the definition of left / right made sense to me. It was so easy, or at least it seemed to be. Left meant being socialist, progressive, rebellious, utopian, urban, self-organizing, creating a better future, modern art and literature, change . . . Right meant being capitalist, conservative, supporting the status quo, representing state-interests, glorifying the past, autoritharian, stubborn, backwards, alpine folkmusic . . .

    Of course I was leftist. In the course of the last 20, 30 years the attributions have become meaningless to a large extent. Subject matters I‘d expect to be addressed by the traditional left (an oxymoron in itself!) are discussed soundly by the socalled right. I got disgusted with many positions of the former left. It is clear that there are the good-hearted but blind ones and there are the unscrupulous, highly intelligent manipulators on both sides. Well, I still suspect there are more ruthless on the right and more numbed on the left . . . I‘m working on it

    It was a long way to leave those categories behind and I‘m not done yet. When we can‘t do without categorizations at all (or at least without putting people, their beliefs, their actions, their world view) in a certain context - it would be better to see them as more or less awaken or still numbed, maybe. There is no reason to reject or hate the lesser awakened.

    Whenever I notice falling back into repeating old patterns I just have to ask myself: the few strange individuals in power and their legion of minions who want to weaken, poison and enslave us, who want us on our knees and want us to starve if we don‘t accept being chipped - are they left or right?

    There are some members here posting who I highly appreciate although (or maybe because) I wouldn‘t agree with them on a single statement. They challenge my thought processes and that‘s a good thing. I never noticed some of the longstanding ‚conservatives‘ here being really rude. But maybe being no native speaker helps, so I just don‘t get it.
    I would like to add a thought. I believe many philosophies, systems and organizations that once existed to help the masses have been corrupted by those that would use them for their own purposes. I believe there are a lot of good hearted people that haven't noticed the morphing. I have said this many times, and it applies here, we are living in the age of corruption. The bones are being picked from every institution and organization by those that would exploit for their own purposes. Concepts like Feminism that were once so important have been morphed into something I now find kind of repulsive. We can only try to avoid that corruption in ourselves and at least look at the motives behind those that have highjacked once vital altruistic vital organization and systems.

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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Peterpam, I‘m not hitting the thanks button now because your current number of thanks (7777) is too beautiful. Anyway, in a minute it will be gone

    Add: I suspect the arguments and anger over political positions among families or friends are often a substitution for other, deeper, unaddressed conflicts.
    Last edited by Iloveyou; 29th May 2019 at 14:51.

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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Quote Posted by Iloveyou (here)
    Peterpam, I‘m not hitting the thanks button now because your current number of thanks (7777) is too beautiful. Anyway, in a minute it will be gone

    Add: I suspect the arguments and anger over political positions among families or friends are often a substitution for other, deeper, unadressed conflicts.
    I love you, Iloveyou!!!!

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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Every side seems to believe it is right without acknowledging what is right on the other side. These hardened stances are in large part a relic of the mass media form of debate, institutionalized over decades of cultural immersion. Take a side, fight it out, Wash, rinse, repeat. Trouble is, at this point, following that model leads to impasse and uncivil warfare.

    There are real and palpable differences currently. Lives are always at stake. Often it is whose lives are at stake that determines who finds a side resonant to their understanding and worthy of their support.

    I still hold out belief that we can find a way beyond. It might take a reactive disaster to bring people back together as such things generally do. Folks get pretty set in their ways and often don't change unless circumstances force them to. And even then, many would rather die than give up their belief system.

    Those who choose to move beyond polarity might be the ones who make it out of this one.
    Last edited by Rahkyt; 29th May 2019 at 15:52. Reason: grammar

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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Quote Posted by Praxis (here)
    [...]
    One of the things that Voice most recently posted about the US constitution was that there is no separation between church and state.
    [...]
    Interesting point which doesn't make sense until one considers that most - if not all - governments officiate and rule from their own temples... Masonic buildings... with DC being their Magnum Opus... that one ring that binds them all.

    Then, there is the next step (for the "DC Parties" ):



    So, yes, the polarizing of emotional balls into various slots make for interesting distractions and misdirections to keep 'em soulless zombies busy at anything else but gathering pitchforks and torches... with single objectives in sight, one after the other... you know, Pharma, Agra, petro, "greens", climate, education,... etc...
    Last edited by Hervé; 29th May 2019 at 15:50.
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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Could the answer(s) be empathy?

    As I was reading this thread, the weekly edition of the New Mexico Bar Bulletin was handed to me. This publication is for the public in general, and the legal community in particular. It contains New Mexico appellate decisions, discussions of public affairs, and articles on a variety of topics.

    In this weekly edition, there is an article titled "Improve your practice and LIFE. Empathy helps build connections." The author is Caitlin Dillon, a New Mexico lawyer. (A prosecutor of all things at this time in her career.) In her article she gives attribution to others whom she lists in the Endnotes.

    Here are some quotes from her article that I think are appropos in connection with the topic of this thread:

    "There is a growing body of research grounded in neuroscience and psychology that suggests that emphatic interactions improve human interaction in general. Empathy is a process with both cognitive and affective components which enables individuals to understand and respond to others' emotional state which contributes to compassionate behavior and moral agency [Citation to source omitted] Empathy is a vital component of human connection. When individuals feel with others, care about others and act with compassion, their communications and outcomes improve. Helen Riess says " 'empathic capacity' requires specialized brain circuits. When people show empathy for others, they are usually good at perceiving what others feel, able to process information, and able to respond effectively."

    Listening and understanding are important aspects of empathy, she adds. Also, empathy is different from sympathy. Sympathy is often perceived as an attempt to "fix" a problem and can "lead to distance and disconnection." Whereas empathy "creates connections between people [and] is about listening [and] connecting with the emotions that underpin an experience.

    This leads me to add my own thought about something Stephen Covey said in his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" to the effect that: "First seek to understand then to be understood."

    Empathy my dear friends.
    Last edited by Satori; 29th May 2019 at 20:03.

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  27. Link to Post #14
    Philippines Avalon Member
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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Well, it helps to be aware that we need empathy. As I have mentioned awareness is the first step towards it. But what about the habit. We aren't going to suddenly become emphatic. Not tomorrow or in a week or in a year. Its good to be emphatic it feels good to feel love. We are working on it. But dont underestimate the habit. Perhaps you have some advice on how to become more emphatic.

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  29. Link to Post #15
    Avalon Member Satori's Avatar
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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Quote Posted by Bubu (here)
    Well, it helps to be aware that we need empathy. As I have mentioned awareness is the first step towards it. But what about the habit. We aren't going to suddenly become emphatic. Not tomorrow or in a week or in a year. Its good to be emphatic it feels good to feel love. We are working on it. But dont underestimate the habit. Perhaps you have some advice on how to become more emphatic.
    Perhaps these will help:

    Century Enlightenment: Brene Brown on Empathy 2013 https://www.thersa.org/discover/vide...own-on-Empathy (Note: this link may not work because I cannot get the ' ( an umlaut) over the e in Brene')

    Brene Brown, Daring Greatly: How The Courage To be Vulnerable Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, NY, Penguin Random House Inc., 2015 and also by her, Dare to Lead:Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work. same publisher 2018

    I have not read these books or watched the video, but they are among those cited by the author of the article I quoted from.

    PS I did watch the video and the link does work.
    Last edited by Satori; 29th May 2019 at 20:02.

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  31. Link to Post #16
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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    It’s a bit ugly right now because there is a war ongoing for the soul of this planet. The people are in this new age of information, learning things only dreamt of a few decades ago and the elite/corporations/governments are pulling out all the stops to keep the people down, keep them uninformed and keep them sick and dependent on the system. Most of the issues with my family and friends come down to a basic question: are they aware or not? This could also be phrased as “do they blindly trust their establishment authorities or not?” Because the difference between actual reality and the establishment version of reality is huge and impacts everything and every conversation. At some point something will have to give. I don’t believe the powers that be can hold back the flood of truth much longer and from what I have seen they don’t look to be willing to lose honorably with a handshake and a cold beer after. Yes, I’m big on empathy but our opponents are not. It might just be to get the world we know is possible, with us as peaceful enlightened stewards of this beautiful planet, living an advanced, but non polluting existence, and exploring our universe, we may need to dig our heels into the dirt, look our oppressors in the face, tell them “no more!” and be willing to fight for it. I hope it doesn’t come to that, though.

    Matt
    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness."
    - Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham

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  33. Link to Post #17
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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Interesting Matt, I was going to write a post called "War for the Soul of Avalon" - your post prompted me to remember.

    I have tried to stay cool when I read "opposing team" posts. For me, it has nothing to do with left vs right. It's about collectivists/illusionists vs individuals/pragmatists. I was against the quasi-deification of Obama... i.e."Obama is a white hat messiah". And I'm against the "Trump will save us" games. So yes, we have to stay respectful, good humored and diplomatic. On the other hand, can we let the mildness of Avalonians be cynically exploited? How to call people out while staying cool and calm? That's not easy to do.

    There's some merit to these "can't we all just get along" posts... but if I came to someone's house and trod mud all over the carpet, would they invite me back?
    Last edited by Daozen; 30th May 2019 at 13:03.

  34. Link to Post #18
    United States Avalon Member RunningDeer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Thanks, Satori
    Brené Brown on Empathy (2:53 minutes)

    NOTE: Dr Brené Brown's full talk 'The Power of Vulnerability’ added below.

    The Power of Vulnerability - Brene Brown (21:47 minutes)
    I want to start with two questions that I really want you to think about and the two questions are: 1) What should I be afraid of today? 2) Who’s to blame?

    What should scare me? And whose fault is it?

    To me these are the most profoundly dangerous questions that we center our lives around. And what they are indicators to me. What they're indicators of is a culture of scarcity, a culture of not enough.

    And when you think about think about any milieu in your life think about education, what are we supposed to be afraid of and who's to blame, politics, the economy, social issues, I guarantee you if you turn on the news or open to paper today the focus would be here's why you should be afraid, and here's whose fault it is.

    And it what’s interesting to me about that is it's not just at a cultural level or community level. That stuff happens in my house every week. Every week with my husband, I talked to him about what we should what should be, why we should be fearful and whose fault it is…

    Published on Aug 15, 2013
    Influential author and speaker Dr Brené Brown tackles the myth that vulnerability is a weakness. Instead, she argues, it is the clearest path to courage and meaningful connection, and has the power to transform the way we engage and educate.
    Quote Posted by Satori (here)
    Quote Posted by Bubu (here)
    Well, it helps to be aware that we need empathy.
    snip
    Perhaps these will help:

    Century Enlightenment: Brene Brown on Empathy 2013 https://www.thersa.org/discover/vide...own-on-Empathy

    Brene Brown, Daring Greatly: How The Courage To be Vulnerable Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, NY, Penguin Random House Inc., 2015 and also by her, Dare to Lead:Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work. same publisher 2018

    snip
    Last edited by RunningDeer; 30th May 2019 at 14:00.

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  36. Link to Post #19
    United States Avalon Member mpennery's Avatar
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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Quote Posted by Daozen (here)
    Interesting Matt, I was going to write a post called "War for the Soul of Avalon" - your post prompted me to remember.

    I have tried to stay cool when I read "opposing team" posts. For me, it has nothing to do with left vs right. It's about collectivists/illusionists vs individuals/pragmatists. I was against the quasi-deification of Obama... i.e."Obama is a white hat messiah". And I'm against the "Trump will save us" games. So yes, we have to stay respectful, good humored and diplomatic. On the other hand, can we let the mildness of Avalonians be cynically exploited? How to call people out while staying cool and calm? That's not easy to do.

    There's some merit to these "can't we all just get along" posts... but if I came to someone's house and trod mud all over the carpet, would they invite me back?
    For me, the “opposing team” is not so much the people I disagree with but rather the establishment authorities (govt, corp, elite) who are polluting and manipulating their minds. But to defeat them we need to open minds so it’s a difficult question where best to focus our energies.

    Your last point is exactly what I was referencing with my last point. If someone comes into your home, slings mud everywhere, poisons your food and water, sprays your air with contaminants and then waterboards your wife and kids, are you going to try to debate the merits of their actions or might you protect yourself and your family? Because, literally, the powers in this world are doing these things and far worse to us right now.
    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness."
    - Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham

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  38. Link to Post #20
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    Default Re: Political Polarization, Unmitigated Rage, and the Unbridgeable Divide

    Quote Posted by mpennery (here)
    Most of the issues with my family and friends come down to a basic question: are they aware or not? This could also be phrased as “do they blindly trust their establishment authorities or not?” Because the difference between actual reality and the establishment version of reality is huge and impacts everything and every conversation.

    Matt
    Exactly right. As far as I can tell, the difference between "actual reality" and "establishment reality" is even more subtle than "real" vs "fake" or "aware" vs "asleep".

    Many of us are are living in two paradigms of reality superimposed atop of each other, and, as a result are talking past each other trying to sort out what's going on. The image below characterizes this dynamic nicely:


    The question is, what do you see? It's almost impossible to speak of a necklace to one who can only see a mouth

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