Polarization is occurring in so many fields and current aspects of life that many people really should consider to take a chill pill. Opinionators spread their views all over the place, and this in combination with limited knowledge lead to only one thing – polarization. In the best of cases, this is a temporary occurrence happening during a limited period of time, but then there are those other times when that’s not the case. Read this article series to find out more about the whole thing on polarization and why it’s relevant to you.
Polarization – What’s going on here?
According to wise men (Merriam-Webster Dictionary), polarization is that thing describing the:
“a: division into two opposites
b: concentration about opposing extremes of groups or interests formerly ranged on a continuum”
How many such divisions can you think of if you give it a go? In any normal society or even smaller groups of people, it’s fully reasonable that they will have differing opinions on a broad range of issues. You may like coffee and your best friend will prefer tea, or you might be a right-wing supporter and your wife may be a Leftist.
The dynamics created in a place where people are on the very opposite of a continuum in any field or in regards to any question, is what makes change happen.
Sometimes, that change leads to a better society, a better individual state, and other times it leads to conflicts, war and concentration camps.
The point is that variations of all sorts is always a better alternative than living in a world where you have to hold a narrow-minded, pre-defined set of preferences. That has been tried out before and such bubbles are in general constructed to burst.
What happens in situations when like-minded people are organized into groups are that they often start lobbying to get their message through. Whether it’s one of peace or one of semi-aggressive thought in need of attention, the tools are the same and the approach is similar.
Polarization in society today
Now, having the freedom to express those differing issues and to have your ideas being respected is another thing.
Individually speaking, your views on a topic may differ from the ones of other people, that’s fine. If you, however, do everything in order to belittle those other people because of them holding the “wrong” opinions – then you just got yourself some polarization skills.
Politically, polarization is a handy tool in times of elections. As a political party, you pick a question and then you make sure to do everything you can in order to lead your voters in the direction of sharing your views on that particular issue.
How do you do that? By othering. Through using all means in pointing out how the other parties don’t handle that question as smoothly as you do.
As you’re focusing on the other parties, pointing out their flaws and issues, you’re indirectly creating yourself, portraying the alternative of you to be the best one for voters all over the country. How great is that?
Media helps out a lot too. In order to gain clicks and then cash in on them, media houses do all that they can in order to create debate. Not necessarily a good debate, or even a somewhat intelligent debate, but really anything that could increase views and bring in the money.
Individual vs. collective polarization
Now to the fun part. You, as a world citizen, are in the center of all of this crap. Anyone pursuing you to one idea for the cost of another one is trying to polarize you. Convenient, right?
Not only that, but most actors dealing with this business are going to repetitively seduce you into believing that what they say makes any sort of sense whatsoever. On the one hand, you may hear that Muslims are terrorists and that those who have an iPhone generally speaking are total assholes.
“When politicians start talking about large groups of their fellow Americans as ‘enemies,’ it’s time for a quiet stir of alertness. Polarizing people is a good way to win an election, and also a good way to wreck a country.”
― Molly Ivins
On the other hand, you’ll probably be told that if you’re not into veganism you’re basically anti-life and love to torture animals, while also hating humanity if you choose not to have children.
As frequent as the above stated seduction attempts may be, they’re not that effective since they speak against something else. Add a little something like “we have the right culture, the free culture, the civilized mindset” to any of those previous statements and you just added attraction to the game.
In order to be successful in polarizing, the far best approach is to go individual. What would you say if you had to bla bla bla? Or if your kids were bla bla bla? The approach is individual but the gain is collective. Suddenly, you got yourself a bunch of people totally convinced that someone is talking to them specifically, choosing them and caring about them.
It’s like we never learned anything from the Romantic era.
I can’t even. How the fu.. I mean, how are we dealing with all of this? WTF?
Well, that’s the thing. The concept of polarization is so frequently used today, that you could tune in any question of preference into the system, and get yourself a polarization strategy. Whether for fun, to gain fame and money or simply to question current norms and concepts, polarization seems to be the current choice of method.
Is that great? No. Will it work? Temporarily, yes. What’s going to happen with current international issues and crises? We’ll let you know in the next article in this series.
We hope that you’ve found this text to be awesome and if you did – check back in next Monday when we publish our second piece in this article series!