News & Reviews
Why We Are So Very Polarized
September 16, 2020
We have very recently been blessed with a number of wonderful books that can help us become and stay grounded in our efforts to steer ourselves collectively to a future of safety, support, alignment, moral, and ethical growth and enlightenment — and to actual functional Inter Group Peace.
If we think of the world we live in as being part of the four basic paradigms of existence, and if we believe that it is our mission, task, and obligation to figure out exactly how the four quantum-built paradigms work and how they can each be used for our success and survival, then this is exactly the right time to have those books available to us.
Just in time wisdom and insights.
Frank Wilczek, George Ellis, Perry Marshall, Steven Pinker, Robert Wright, Francis Collins, and the Institute for InterGroup Understanding are all giving us books that offer great insight into the world we live in and the core component parts of that world in each of the paradigm categories.
We have physics, biology, socio biology, and meta physics as the key context areas for our existence — and we are learning incredible levels of things about what exists and the foundational information and process composition at quantum mechanics levels in each of those areas.
Quantum physics is going into a golden age that gives us hugely important insights into matter and energy and the core component parts and processes of existence — and we are building amazing tools with that knowledge.
Similarly, quantum biology now enables us to actually look into the core programming for DNA and RNA and to also do entirely new levels of interactions with life itself in stunning, impressive, and unexpected ways.
The new Covid vaccine actually used our RNA messenger tool kit to program the right responses for our body to use to withstand that virus — in ways that we would not have even fantasized about doing only a relatively short time ago.
We now know about those basic codes for life functions at a level beyond our prior knowledge on those issues — and it is very clear that we need to evolve our Theory of Evolution because none of those tools could have been created by the old process that we used to believe in and used to accept as our absolutely definitive theory and explicit understanding for how it all happens in the development and evolution of life.
Darwin would have loved the new tool kit. He could have taken it to extremely productive new places and built layers into the deep levels of research that he accomplished with the tools and information available to him.
Enhancing the theory and using it to better steer both our understanding of the process and steering medical and biological processes in better directions is exactly what we will do now in ways that will be enhanced by the addition of artificial intelligence to our computational tool kit.
We are enhancing our brains with mechanical computing devices that can already identify and build algorithms for diagnosis and care that could never have been built or detected by the human brain alone. We now can do calculations and measurements and see relationships that could never have been done without those tools.
Paradigm 2 — life itself — is now far better understood than it was before, and we have a context for extreme intellectual growth in those areas that will take us to very good places if we use it well.
Paradigm 3 is Us.
Paradigm 3 is people and our thoughts and behaviors.
We are building a quantum type of understanding about us that includes our thoughts and behaviors as people, and we will be able to use that understanding to help us achieve levels of enlightenment in some key areas about ourselves.
We know that we have patterns of instinctive behaviors that are as predictable and unpredictable as some of the quantum mechanics, and we have an opportunity now to understand our instinctive thought processes and to channel them in the best and most enlightened directions for our own safety and growth as people.
We have very strong instincts to be hierarchical, territorial, maternal and paternal, sexual, creative, acquisitional, and to be tribal in what can sometimes lead to very damaging emotions, beliefs, and behaviors.
When we understand that basic set of instincts, we can use our instincts to create cultures and build paradigms, and we can channel ourselves into a future that gives us levels of success at important and needed levels because we won’t have our most negative and damaging sets of behaviors shaping who we are and what we do.
The same instincts that reward and encourage us to be tribal and to damage each other in tribal ways need to be channeled to have us be tribal in the most inclusive and positive ways — and to support one another across all settings and groups in very intentional ways.
The same instincts that hurt us can help us.
The quantum physics tool kit can let us build atomic bombs and killer lasers and extremely lethal drones and destroy one another in a growing array of ways.
Similarly, the biological quantum tool kit that can give us great medical support also lets us build biological weapons that can also have us destroy one another with far too little protection or safety if people who are evil choose to go down that path.
Both our quantum physics and our quantum biology can damage us in very serious ways.
Likewise, our socio biological quantum element tool kit can steer us into hurting one another and to feel good and entirely legitimate as we do evil things to each other when our most powerful Us-Them instincts are in full gear.
That’s not theoretical. It is very real and very current.
We literally have suicide bombers every day in the world we live in — with someone wearing a bomb into the territory of another tribe or into a setting with a perceived Them of some kind, to kill Them with no remorse.
We are at war in many places today. There are more than 130 ethnic wars going on in the world today where people are killing people from the other tribe and are celebrating the damage they are doing and feeling like heroes for their own group or tribe when they hurt people from the other group.
In our own country, we have been tribalizing to the point where some people hate each other and want to damage each other, and where a number of people now celebrate doing evil things to other people in our country who are perceived to be from the other tribe and to be Them in an instinctive way.
America has those instincts being activated in a number of ways, and they tend to feel very right to whoever has them steering their emotions, beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors at any point in time.
We can get ourselves into very deep water in a very dangerous way in a relatively short time unless we start steering ourselves into the best insulation strategies and approaches that can be created by our quantum socio biology, where we understand those patterns and then use them to support us rather than to hurt us.
Knowledge is power.
We need insight into those patterns of behaviors to see them for what they are and to have power over them. Two new books actually help us understand the Us-Them thinking levels that are existing in America today, and we should use those books as resources to help us have a sense of context into what is happening here now on a number of issues.
Ezra Klein and Robin Veldman wrote those books.
Robin Veldman’s wonderful book is called The Gospel of Climate Skepticism — Why Evangelical Christians Oppose Action on Climate Change.
She did extensive research into a number of evangelical settings for several years, and her book explains how we have managed to let what should be a science-based issue about our environment turn into a major and damaging tribal issue — with intense levels of instinctive distrust on all sides on that issue.
Some of the people involved have made it a faith-based issue.
When you look at Paradigm 4 — metaphysics — it’s probably a very good thing to have people with a sense of faith engaging on the environmental issues.
But it’s a bad thing when the engagement tends to be much more tribal than belief- or science-based, and it is primarily an issue to trigger conflict rather than intellectual alignment.
This actually should be a very good time to be faith based.
Some of the best scientists on the planet are now pointing with some conviction to the role of extremely intentional design elements in DNA and RNA, and in the quarks and in wave patterns — and this is actually a time when people who favor believing in God can make the point that science is giving us good evidence for the intentional creation process and for the underlying causes and processes of creation being entirely intentional, and not serendipitous or circumstantial.
Religion and science have probably not been this aligned since Newton simply believed that he was reporting on what had been created rather than on something that he had created.
Believers who look at the actual extremely intentional DNA and RNA coding, and at quantum physics discoveries, can easily get to the point that George Ellis and Frank Wilczek and Francis Collins reached about all of those areas being gifts from God.
The most fundamental believers in each religious tradition might find the declaration from extremely credible — Nobel Prize level practitioners of science — that intelligent and intentional design underlies each of those areas is extremely affirmational for being a believer in God.
Having faith issues divide us on those issues says that we should do a much better job of gaining better awareness of the quantum elements of meta physics as well as quantum elements of biology, socio biology, and quantum mechanics at the core level.
Interestingly, Veldman points out in her book about the response of some fundamentalist Christian believers to environmental issues is that one of the major ideological theological issues for some of the evangelical believers is a strong commitment to the creation story exactly as it is told in the Book of Genesis.
That sequence in the Book of Genesis has guided a couple of our major religious traditions for a few thousand years.
It’s interesting to note that when we look at what we now believe that our scientific paradigms happened with the Big Bang Theory, with our world showing up a few billion years down the pathway from that first moment of creation, and with life on our planet happening very far down that time line — and then with actual human life happening only in the very recent past after other forms of life were created on our planet.
If you move away from the absolute literal story of that entire creation processes happening in seven 24-hour days and make the process into happening in a sequence with much longer time elements — then the sequence of creation events that actually happened seems to follow the Genesis version and sequence fairly closely.
In other words, when everything else was created first and when the beginning was a void, then that sequence seems at least poetically aligned.
And when one reading of Genesis says that a man and a woman were both created by God, and created to be in the image of God, on the sixth day, it’s actually very interesting that we now know for the first time how stunningly complex our brains (as people) actually are — with almost exactly the same number of trillions of neurons in our brains that we now believe to be about the number of galaxies in the currently known universe.
It’s at least an interesting coincidence that the people in those religious settings who have been trying to figure out what it meant to be made in the image of God now have a complexity and consciousness concept to link to and enjoy because the Image of God to be conscious and to have billions of internal component parts.
Consciousness is one of the absolutely unique and important factors about us that all of the scientists who wrote those books write and talk about in their creation beliefs.
We do seem to be the only truly conscious things in existence that have conscience minds to the point where we do mathematics and we almost obsessively theorize things — and we now can use our brains to do a growing number of amazing things for both life sciences and physics.
So that book from Dr. Veldman is a gift to us that can be very useful at this point in time to figure out how to do the right things to save our planet and get everyone on board with the process.
Ezra Klein also recently wrote a brilliant, data-rich book explaining and describing why and how we are polarized as a country today that fits into that third socio biological quantum thought process as well.
He quantifies our polarization in extremely useful and insightful ways that are extremely persuasive when you look at his data.
Klein is focused primarily on our political world, and he offers an extremely useful history of our main political parties that explains very clearly how we got to where we are now in each party and why that polarization has happened and continues to exist.
The book is extremely well researched and hugely data dependent in very useful and insightful ways.
It explains how our demography and our economic realities have led us to the situation we are now in. Our polarization is actually increasing in very measurable and discernable ways that is activating our tribal instincts at multiple levels.
Klein points out that we have become geographically polarized, for example, and he shows that when you look at facts like the existence of “landslide counties” — where the presidential candidates achieve more than 60 percent of the vote — the number of those counties has gone from 39 percent of voters living in landslide counties in 1992, to having 61 percent of our voters living in landslide counties in the last election.
He explains how a combination of gerrymandering and local political concentration has reduced both parties to needing to appeal to their own most extreme members to be nominated and elected, rather than having a need to appeal to the middle of the political spectrum to gain votes.
Klein writes about the political ethics that stem from that polarization — with the other group being regarded as the enemy, rather than the opposition, for too many of our political leaders.
He writes about the role that various religious alignments have played in steering those thought processes.
The news media is heavily involved in the polarization process in very intentional ways.
Klein actually presents an extremely useful history of the news media’s ethical standards evolution from all sites needing just a few years ago to achieve the expectation of objectivity to now needing to meet the expectation of pure advocacy in order for our media people to maintain their audience.
Dr. Veldman had an extremely useful and parallel chapter in her book on climate skepticism that goes down the same paths of showing how much of our division over the past several years on the climate issues was created and then reinforced in very deliberate ways by our news media.
Klein actually looks at both sides on that issues. He describes the role of CNN and Fox News and MSNBC as news organizations that represent and present points of view rather than simply reporting on current events.
His data about the fact that there is a very low likelihood today that the people who choose each of those outlets for their own information will ever even see or hear a news story on the networks that are not their personal political leaning is one of the most jarring and alarming elements of the book.
Large percentages of people in this country today do not tend to have any exposure to the other point of view other than the one brought to them by their chosen social media outlets and preferred news channels.
The book explains clearly how the various highly targeted social media tools steer people’s thoughts and perspectives.
Klein actually runs a social media service — and he is very candid and informative about that business and that process.
Patterns of socio biologically structured beliefs and behaviors are clearly described and included in the scope and the focus of both of those books.
Both books are well and clearly grounded in some of the key elements of instinctive behavior — although neither author actually names and identifies instinctive behavior clearly when discussing it, they do describe it well.
“The human mind is exquisitely tuned to group affirmation and group difference,” Klein wrote. “It takes almost nothing for us to form a group identity.” (p. 135.)
Both authors write about group behavior, group identity, group competition, and group loyalty without ever discussing that those behavior patterns all have deep roots in our instincts and hard wiring.
They both express the wish that we would chose to step away from those conflict-based approaches, but the problem is that well-intentioned solutions will not likely be attempted or supported or even understood in any settings until we reach a higher level of interaction as a people, and until we both recognize the huge power that instincts have over our thinking and decide to come to a shared understanding that we actually want to be an American people, and that we want America to both thrive and survive in our most noble elements and form.
At our very best, we have some of the most enlightened and positive elements for any society or people on the planet. We also have sinned and done horrible things.
Klein’s wonderful podcast that he did with author Isabel Wilkerson after she published her book, Caste, both talked about how badly we have sinned and how extremely enlightened we can be at our very best — and we need to build on and strengthen that sense of who we are in order to come together in ways that can help us survive the divisions we face today.
Veldman has done some excellent podcast interviews since the publication of her book that are also worth listening to. Her patience, judgment, and absolute perseverance is worth saluting.
We need to agree on our basic values. We all need to have an understanding that we do support democracy and fairness and a future where we all both win and continuously improve.
Then, to succeed in not being damaged by the instinct-triggered forces at play in Paradigm 3, we need to make handling those conflicts an intentional strategy based on our understanding of the actual forces at play in each setting.
As part of that process, we will need to do very intentional things to bring us together — with a sense that we face great danger if we go down the wrong paths, but can enter into a golden age for our country if we get things right and create alignment instead of division as a nation and a people.
This could be a golden age for making progress in some key areas.
We actually have a huge opportunity right now to deal with our racism and to deal with our gender-damaging and even misogynistic behaviors across our various settings because both the Black Lives Matter and the Me-Too movements have made us more aware than we have ever been in those areas about things we shouldn’t do and about the things we can and should do that can give us enlightened future behaviors.
We are building a new culture in a number of important areas, with an awareness that we did not have before those movements began to impact our thinking and expectations.
We are at a golden point for our potential and we are in great danger as a country at the exact same time. We can go far too easily down the slippery and seductive slope into our most negative tribal inter group behavior and into hating each other and celebrating the people in our group who do damage to other people — or we can decide now to be inclusive and we can set up a future that helps us all get to the best elements of the best version of the American Dream.
We need enlightened people to recognize how heavily influenced we are by our instincts to be territorial, tribal, hierarchical, loyal, and protective of our own group — and we need to build on our instincts to create broader and more inclusive definitions of who we are in ways that allow us to be united by our values and beliefs, and not just by our race, ethnicity, or other inclusion factors that inherently divide as well as unit us.
We need to have our intellect create our cultures instead of having our cultures drive our intellect into damaging behaviors and beliefs.
To do that, we need to understand exactly where we are now in multiple important political areas of our lives — and this book about why we are divided can help us with that discernment and awareness process. We can use the Six Group Alignment Triggers to help make that happen.
Ezra Klein’s book, Why We Are Polarized, can be an extremely useful tool for helping us get grounded at this point in the process.
Everyone should read it to gain and benefit from the blessings of his extensive research and to more clearly see where we are now.
Thank you, Ezra.
Knowledge is power.
Both authors give us very current and relevant information that can significantly increase our knowledge base and our personal power to discern and to define the challenges and opportunities that we face.
We are very blessed to have both these books and Caste coming to us in the same year for context in important areas.
We do need to build a good sense of context for where we are today in all four of our key paradigms in order to succeed.
This information helps tee up how the fourth paradigm factors play out for us as a country.
We need to begin with existence, itself.
We need to have a better working sense of how and why we exist and of what we actually have to deal with as a scenario and a context for our total functional reality.
This is not accidental.
Those wonderful new tools have obviously all been created in intentional ways. Our new science is making that very clear to us. Now that we know what those tools actually are, we can know that there is no way for the detailed and convoluted and intertwined RNA coding that we now know exists to have happened in spontaneous and purely serendipitous ways.
There is also a very low level of probability that the elegant mathematical realities of quantum physics spontaneously occurred and exist in such useful ways for our learning, quantification, and discernment processes.
When the coding for the life processes are so obviously intentional and when the patterns in physics and in biology are so clearly designed, and when our behavioral pathways are also so equally discernable, then we do seem to be at a point where the Creator of everything wants us to know and to recognize that creation is intentional and that we exist in a very special way as conscious beings with some level of free will both to learn and to act in our appropriate ways.
Appropriate ways of acting include not allowing our tribal instincts to let us use CRISPR to build a virus that actually kills us all.
As the old internal Kaiser process improvement mantra said — “Each thing in its turn and each thing in its time.”
Knowledge about those intentional processes is happening in the right order and it seems to be known to us at the right time.
It’s the right time because we are at real risk if we get this wrong.
We are at very real risk at this point in our history of having various kinds of very damaging inter group behaviors happen that we will all deeply regret
Hurting each other is not why we exist.
George Ellis and Frank Wilczek and Dr. Collins all agree that they have a very strong sense that God wants us to choose ethical, caring, accountable, and enlightened behaviors and pathways for our lives.
They each have a strong sense of the benevolent presence of God in their work and they each try to steer us to do the right thing for the right reasons in our lives because that is, they believe, the right thing for us to do.
They have each chosen to find their own faith practices that work for their lives. Rather than believing that there is one absolute and rigid path to God, they seem comfortable with the belief that we should each rely on our life experiences and realities — and that we should each have the practices and beliefs that are the best fits for our own lives based on our communities, upbringings, and current religious opportunities.
Each of the authors of those first books have found Christian affiliations as their choice of a faith alignment. George Ellis is a Quaker. Francis Collins is an Presbyterian. Perry Marshall is a Baptist. The author of the four InterGroup Instinct books is a Lutheran with a strong Swedenborgian influence at several levels.
Robert Wright — the author of a couple of extremely useful books on the subject — is a Buddhist. The head of Emerge is a Christian with a sense of an overarching presence of God across all of creation.
The Dalai Lama wrote a wonderful book about science and religion, and he also strongly believes that we should appreciate science and what it tells us about the world and about us at multiple levels.
People in some of the more conservative Evangelical faith traditions might actually find some of these beliefs to be acceptable at some levels because these beliefs are not the atheist beliefs that they hate the most — and they make it very clear that God actually was in the creation process in very direct and immediate ways.
This belief says that all of those elements of creation were gifts from God.
And for the most fundamental believers in the Genesis story of creation, this particular belief is not that the universe and the earth were created in seven calendar days, but they do reflect the fact that the Genesis story actually has some very strong alignment functionality — beginning with a Big Bang to start everything and then adding the Earth and all of the species of life on the Earth and then ending up with God creating a man and a woman on the sixth day who are created to be In the Image of God.
Theologians have debated what it means to be in the Image of God — but we now know that the human brain is an incredibly complex creation with over a billion neuron connections — and the number of connections in each brain is actually about the same number of galaxies that we now believe exist in the universe.
Having a trillion connections and a trillion galaxies, and having actual consciousness in our brains and in the existence of our Creator, makes us much less significant than we would seem to be if you just look at how tiny and finite we are in the context of total creation. We are tiny and special.
Figuring out quantum mechanics is an absolutely amazing thing to do — and putting together processes that let us manipulate RNA and have it dance for us is a very special ability and achievement.
God seems to be showing us that we are working with a tool kit of wonderful gifts as a warning for us not to take those tools and use them to destroy ourselves or our tiny Eden like planet.
We should be responsible and grateful and accountable, and hugely engaged at the very highest intellectual levels in ways that allow us all to be a blessing to one another. To be a blessing, we need to understand our socio biological instinctive programming and channel it into being Us at the right levels for the right reasons and at the right time.
Welcome to the party.
Let’s make Peace with who we are and what we do. As another old Kaiser process improvement mantra said — “Let’s make the right thing easy to do — and then let’s do it.”