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Divided and Conquered Part 1

by on July 29, 2014

As someone who has had an interest in American politics and government I find I have come through a certain transformation over the years.  When I first jumped into the internet debating sites on politics, I went into it looking for someone to challenge me in a debate.  As I started this way, I didn’t intend to alter my beliefs or my stances as I had thought I had everything figured out, as I was really just looking for ways to better form and cement my arguments.  I really enjoyed debating with other people as it was a way for me to gauge my intelligence against others.  For years I was stuck in this stage of debating just to measure up against other people, and to become a more intelligent debater and also gain more knowledge of the world.

This stage is very similar to what psychologists call the immersion-emersion phase (typically reserved for race identity but I think it applies for political identities as well), where I was aware of my beliefs, was adamant about them, took pride in them, and disparaged others with differing view points.  I became more involved in groups and attended events with people of like beliefs, and became more emotionally attached to them.  This is a phase that I think a lot of people end up stuck on when it comes to political beliefs.  Now that I look back at this phase, I see this as a very immature and emotionally stunted stage to be stuck in, and I believe this is why we have such a deep divide in this country.

As time went on I started to have more life experiences that started to challenge my previous political views, and so I gradually started to alter those and further form and cement those stances.  After I started to go through that initial transformation of changing my previously stubborn and unalterable views it made me realize that I should start taking the experience of others more seriously because maybe, just maybe, I hadn’t experienced everything there is to experience and learning from others experiences can only enhance my knowledge base.  So I decided to become more sponge-like, where I let everything come in but only let out that which my experience told me was likely false.  And at this stage I started to not just rely on my experience but to rely on the collection of all experiences, and thus started a shift towards empirical data, which is a more result based view point, rather than a morality based view point.

This is an important stage as it allows one person to obtain more comfort in being wrong as they become more apt to shed their previous identity and form a new one.  Notice this would require someone to go back and forth between these stages as they become cemented in one belief and move on to becoming cemented into another one.  But being able to go back and forth from each stage is not a regression, but a way to integrate any new information that changes your identity.  So changing what your stances are on some, and maybe all issues, should remain constant through ones lifetime.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”  Winston Churchill

I wanted to describe this transition because I think it will hit home with some people and that maybe some people will see just how damaging it is to get stuck into one phase and remain that way.  So this is why I am going to delve into this issue of division more closely, so that we could start to build more bridges and start to use those bridges to build a better government that works for this country and not against it.

So this will be part one of a series I am calling “Divided and Conquered”, so stay tuned!



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