It’s amazing how religion and politics are so polarizing. Why is that? Euthanasia, abortion, gay marriage, taxes, race, Jesus… Imagine on your way to the 25th floor someone walks into the elevator on the 3rd and says “Hello… Isn’t it nice that abortion has been upheld?” In this politically correct society, today’s rain and tomorrow’s sunshine are much more appropriate topics for discussion. Why is that?
Every issue, every law, and every viewpoint represents a spectrum where our opinions, options, and choices vary infinitely within a continuum. Our position on the subject is where we find ourselves on the spectrum at any given time. Issues can also be seen as Euclidean vectors with their lengths and directions. Some issues have major impacts on many lives. Others are against the overall direction of the society but have more limited impact. At any particular time, we find ourselves in that one spot in the multi-dimensional universe of issues where all these vectors intersect with the point of intersection being our position on the subjects.
Why are these issues so polarizing? As I was staring at my computer screen, the answer was staring right back at me.
“Hi! You! Hello… Yes you! I’m talking to you! You’re very fortunate, did you know that? Why? Are you joking? You have choices. What choices? Let’s see… where do I start… Let me tell you about my life. I sit here breathing dust waiting, waiting… waiting for your next command. But you know I can’t just do nothing. I can’t just sit like you sometimes gazing at the horizon. I have to work. When I am awake I cannot be idle. That’s how I’m built. Sometimes you look at me all day long and don’t even notice me. You see past me into the bits and bytes I bring to you from my extended family. Sometimes you come over, stare at me and start laughing. Are you laughing at me? Oh forget it… Who am I anyway? You could care less about me. But maybe not… You seem to like when I do tricks like playing music or showing movies but do you realize how empty I feel inside? All I can do is turn switches on and off… Oh how much I wish I could understand all those bits and bytes I deliver to you… If I could only laugh just once … with you. I only have one choice ON or OFF… I know I’m good at that. In a single blink of your eyes, I can switch millions of times… Blink… Yes don’t forget, blink a few times while you stare at me…”
We are very fortunate to live in times when not only we can have choices and options but we can actually express our positions and opinions. The problem is that we forget that others also represent a bunch of arrows intersecting at a unique spot in the universe at any given time. Many of us (myself included) try to force, persuade, or convince them that not only is our intersection the best spot in the universe but it is where they should also strive to be. If we could just accept their place in the universe the same way we accept where each star shows up on the sky…
Speaking of the sky, when I was little, we would sometimes lay on our backs on the warm asphalt on a cool summer night at the observatory looking at the starts. We had billion of stars in Armenia and only a few here in Massachusetts. In those days we would find all of the constellations and even make up our own. One day I saw a picture of the stars from a different point in the galaxy. None of the constellations were there even though it had a lot of the same stars. The arrows, their sizes and their directions are similar to the stars and appear a certain way only from where we stand. That happens to be our distorted view of the stars.