Quora – Why do humans seek so much for division?

Quora – Why do humans seek so much for division?

The notion of truth divides.

All binary notions divide.

When one imposes a simple binary model onto a complex reality, it necessitates division.

If there is a range of temperature, from absolute zero to hotter than any instrument can sustain or measure, then dividing it into hot or cold is essentially arbitrary, and it will likely be influenced by various physical aspects of the thing making such a declaration.

We must all start our life with simple models of the world around us, we have no other logical option.

We must all use simple models when we have to make decisions in short time frames (ie when under stress).

Evolution didn’t have to deal with forms of stress like mortgages, market instability, nuclear weapons, bio-terrorism, etc. We now live in an age where media systems capture our attention with threats, that add to our stress levels, that reduce our ability to hold complex models of complex realities, so we end up simplifying them down to some version of right or wrong, good or bad, us or them; rather than accepting that reality is complex, we are the most complex things in reality, and we must all make an effort to respect and accept diversity, at the same time as we make the effort to identify and remove cheating strategies on the cooperative that is human society, and to accept the limits on freedom that are required for complexity to exist.

So it is not so much that we seek division, but much more that our biology and necessity tend to push each of us to over simplify things in order to make complex decisions in the time we have available; and that often gets the added complication of various groups exploiting various aspects of such systems for their own benefit at some scale. And that gets deeply complex very quickly (20 plus levels of complexity).

Not all hierarchies are power hierarchies, and power does exist and it can exploit. Nothing simple there.

All perception requires categories, and all categories become traps that tend to capture things that don’t quite belong, and blind us to the diversity present.

So division is something that is sometimes useful and necessary, and sometimes dangerous, and the more conscious and responsible we can each make ourselves about the multiple levels of complexity present in that, the better off we all are. And a big part of that is recognising the many levels of such tendencies that we all necessarily have, and being as conscious as possible about their expression in any particular context. The deeper one looks within, the more complex we are seen to be, and the more uncertainty and unknowability and randomness we see present (and necessarily so). It is not a comfortable journey, and it is a necessary one.

Our modern tendency to over-use things like texts and tweets, to insulating ourselves in social echo-chambers, to over simplification of extremely complex realities, is dangerous, and must be countered.

Our society absolutely requires trust, and it cannot be a naive trust, as that is too easily exploited. We must each be responsible at every level we can distinguish, and we must all do so imperfectly, so we must also have degrees of compassion and understanding and acceptance – which are in the deepest sense the best antidotes to division.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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