We are surrounded by polarization. Life has become a huge “on/off” switch. You like it or you don’t. You’re with us or against us. It’s my way or the highway.
While I think Obama has been a huge failure—to be polite: has squandered his political capital and original good will—I think Democrats have a great many positive initiatives and plans. I like many Republican positions, but I also find it stunningly dreadful that they can’t find viable candidates for the presidency. I thought “Gravity” was horribly overrated, but still like George Clooney as an actor. I’m not crazy about lima beans, but I generally support vegetables.
These same rigid “on/off” alternatives are found among our clients. “The customer is always right.” No, a lot of customers are often wrong. “We promote from within.” That’s a sure way to create incestuous mediocrity.
What we all need are rheostats that can both brighten and dim the lights (or the music) by degrees and by nuance. We have created single lenses, one-dimensional litmus tests, to decide our positions and who are our “friends.” That’s patently absurd, like having the sound set at a given level despite the music, or the lights at one setting despite the time of day.
If you see issues as simply bi-polar, then you’re not a very good consultant, and you’re not going to be a very interesting person. Imagine the one-sided frenzy of football fans not confined to the stadium or TV set, but exhibited every day in every aspect of life.
That would be intolerable, yet we seem to be willing to tolerate more and more of this polarization in our lives. We’ve become “one-issue” people, which makes us one-dimensional people.
© Alan Weiss 2014