Polarization is a compelling illusion. There are never just two sides, unless people’s consciousness and choice are being manipulated. So show polarized people thinking and working together. Or instead of polarized people, choose people at random and reveal how unique and complex their thinking becomes, once informed into the big picture.
Some related patterns: 1 All Concerns Addressed 33 Feeling Heard
39 Generative Interactions 56 Multiple Perspective View 78 Sortition
80 Story 85 Transpartisan Inquiry
Metabolizing Polarization – going deeper …
This is an edited version of the video on this page.
I actually have an article on my website describing my big revelation on this – A Personally Transformative Encounter of Left and Right. I was raised in a progressive left socialist kind of family. The article describes how I was invited to a session that was more or less equally divided between people from the Left and Right as well as some people who were process people. I was kind of a process person, and kind of a leftie. The organizers had brought in some pretty good left-wing people. There were also some really top right-wing people there. The main organizer was a former right-wing militarist politician who had become a process person. The people that main organizer invited were major figures in the American conservative movement who I researched before I went there. I was thinking, “Oh my God, what am I getting involved in?” I got this horrible sense of who these people were when I read about them.
Then I met them…. It wasn’t just that they were real people. I experienced a remarkable difference between their presence in the public sphere and my experience of them at this meeting person-to-person. And even when we talked politics, we discovered all sorts of common ground. And on some issues we agreed, “Why is this even a political issue? This is so obvious!“ It was revelatory.
And I suddenly felt that my progressive stance – the coherence I carried about the progressive worldview and policy options and all the rest – was actually a trap: it was preventing me from being able to see these other people as people who I could potentially work with. So the sense of being divided and conquered became very vivid to me.
I still have progressive responses in my bones, but since that gathering I have tried very hard to set them aside in all situations where it’s relevant, and I try to see the other people as people and as potential allies in finding common ground and seeking where we want to go together.