Why are we so polarized?

The current state of affairs is baffling. The idea of civil dialogue is a remembrance long past. One cannot even politely question why a given person did something or another without risking a knee-jerk response. So, when discussing the important issues of our world, sides erupt into violence of conversation and/or action.

Why is this the way? It isn’t just in the United States. It seems to be present in many parts of the world. Why have we become less able to see another person’s perspective, a different point of view? We do not have to agree with it, but it can be useful to explore why someone thinks a particular way and what led up to that particular conclusion. The whole thing is just mind-boggling.

Something else I’ve noticed is that with the advent of widespread use of social media, email, text messages, etc., not only is communication easier but it is immediate. Much, much faster. Most people have experienced sending off an email to the wrong recipient, sometimes with embarrassing consequences and sometimes not. But what makes these modern electronic communication forms so appealing is also part of their danger, I think. One can whip off a quick text, tweet, post, etc., without much reflection. So, when one sees a tweet that hits him the wrong way, no problem. Just send off an instantaneous put-down.

I just wonder, if we had to reflect a bit more and could not react instantaneously, whether or not those responses might be more measured and closer to dialogue and not vitriol.

About Helen Akinc

Writer: The Praeger Handbook for College Parents, Praeger Publishing, Dec. 31, 2009; Inter-cultural coach: Teaching Intercultural Competency Program for International Studies, Wake Forest University; speak Turkish, Cook: Very interested in ethnic cooking and am working on a Turkish cookbook;
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