Pigeonholes and Othering

In our time, people have begun a dangerous practice of self-segregation. Of course, this is not what it is called, as that would be too honest, and one thing our society will not tolerate is honesty.

It seems innocent enough in the way it is presented and practiced. To start things rolling, we are not simply people – rational thinking human beings. Now we have to fit into these pigeonholes; republican or democrat, conservative or liberal, is or ain’t, rich or poor, snowflake or cupcake, and on and on it goes.

This causes us, knowingly or otherwise, to view those who are not a part of our in-group as different, strange, and most dangerously, our enemy.

See, we have a basic emotional block, think of it as a default setting, where we do not kill members of our own tribe. Killing members of your own tribe is bad for the survival of the tribe and is therefore universally frowned upon.

We have no default settings to prevent the killing of those who are not of our tribe. Othering allows us to justify any action against those who are different from us.

I use the word killing, and I am not just throwing it out there for shock value. Killing is a threshold, any action short of killing is also justified in this mindset. So when you see people on the right or left of any issue beating the crap out of each other over a political difference of opinion, you get a chance to see this idea in practice. To an outsider like me, the entire thing is absurd. But to those involved, it makes perfect sense.

Personally, I don’t identify with either party. I prefer to do the very uncommon practice of researching and thinking for myself. I heed the advice of George Washington when he warned of the dangers of factions (political party). I don’t tell other people to do this, mostly because thinking for yourself leads to speaking freely against both sides, and the end result is feeling like you were in a gang war and didn’t know anybody. You want people to stop talking to you, speak out against both sides. They will act awkward when you are around them and ignore you on all social media. Fair warning though – it sounds like more fun than it is.

I do, however, advise people to stop thinking of people who hold the opposite view as being your enemy. An enemy wants you dead. An enemy is willing to kill you if the chance turned up. An enemy is not a person who has a political difference of opinion. It is good and healthy to talk to and socialize with people who think differently than you. No one was ever harmed by listening to another person’s point of view.

People in our time do not like to listen to dissenting opinions. In a time now lost, dissent was welcomed because it allowed you to elaborate on your position, and justify it. Now, dissent is hated. Because much of our contact is no longer face to face, we simply create a “social” media echo chamber where we only hear what we like.

Step out of the pigeonhole, stop being so afraid of being disagreed with (do I really have to say that) or freaking out that someone thinks you are wrong. And do your part to put an end to the self-imposed segregation. Call out and shut down the extremists on your side (whichever side that may be). There are enough problems in the world without making up things to hate each other over. Grow up, grow a pair, stop whining, remember that we are all in this together whether we like it or not, and none of us are getting out alive.

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