Descriptors I’ve heard: ‘age of outrage;’ ‘tribal age;’ ‘age of political correctness;’ ‘dominance of elitists;’ ‘everyone living in silos/bubbles;’ ‘chaos;’ ‘tyranny;’ ‘smoldering populist nationalism;’ ‘a polarized society;’ ‘a hateful nation;’ ‘binary vs plural;’ ‘tribal rage;’ ‘age of anxiety,’ to name a few. There’s a grain of truth in each if examined. “Warning” seems an apt header for most any announcement in our broken times (article).
The truth that encompasses this for me is straightforward, and it’s certainly not new. These days most people/groups have little difficulty spotting the flaws in the other [Matthew 7.3-5]. The difficulty is our hyper-individualism and, with it, a widespread lack of self-awareness [Luke 6.41-2]. If I’m steeped in confirmation bias and caught-up in a partisan frenzy, then chances are I feel I’m able to correctly discern all the flaws in any opposing views. However, it’s equally likely that I have no clue about the flaws in my own/groups view. We’ve talked before about how cynical politicians and corporate media interests have exploited, exacerbated, and plundered our polarized society for power and profit. All this conspires against reconciliation, especially with confirmation bias at work.
I’m seeing a pattern, resources that reflect the ability to serve as a gray screen of sorts. Last week I focused the blog (The ‘confirmation bias‘) on a double-ring video created by an association of university educators (HxA). By, ‘double-ring,’ I mean resources that reflect/reveal shadow material (blind spots) from both sides of a polarized issue. My post treated ‘orthodoxy’ and ‘confirmation bias,’ and the way HxA is addressing them—e.g., through community, and viewpoint diversity.
The video sparked defensive reactions from both ends of the political spectrum. Obviously, ‘conservatives’ are about protecting orthodoxy and threatened by any notion that is unorthodox. The subtle advantages of heterodoxy, and the more nuanced understandings that attend it, are invisible to most conservatives. Conversely, ‘liberals’ have no problem declaring religious orthodoxy by conservatives an overreach—e.g., denial of LGBTQ+ rights. However, ‘liberals’ often have great difficulty seeing the frequent overreach of their orthodoxy, both in ideological terms and in forms of extreme political correctness, e.g., shouting/shamming others down.
Inter vs Intra
The HxA video exposed an inter-values systems debate between the Blue [DQ] values coalition and the Green [FS] values alliance regarding ‘___doxy’ (e.g., orthodox; unorthodox; and heterodox are contested). The video raises uncomfortable aspects of both systems.
This week’s focus is a cartoon illustration by Australian Michael Leunig whose distinctive work is widely recognized. His “Warning” cartoon was just recently published (May 11, 2019) and it exposes an uncomfortable intra-values system tension within the Green [FS] values system. It reveals potential maturation and processing capacity differences of a person/group expressing Green values—e.g., a naïve, or mature relationship with FS. First, we’ll briefly examine Leunig’s cartoon and the rip in Green it depicts. Then, we’ll look at a practical example of a healthy inter-values system’s reconciliation of intra-values system tensions in leading edge FS.
Every person is a story that belongs within the human communion, and needs to be so recognized. I feel this is the deep code of Green [FS] and the existential ground of the Green value of inclusivity. Without inclusivity it just wouldn’t be FS, it’s non-negotiable. This creates some performative problems that reside in naïve Green’s shadow. In terms of inclusivity, ‘open borders’ reflect a fully realized expression of Green values. However, to think that any open borders policy is practically attainable within present Life Conditions [LC] betrays a naïve, absolutist, simplistic relationship with inclusivity/ FS. Leunig’s cartoon pokes directly at the border and orthodoxy issues. It also tangentially confronts the performative errors that naïve Green is caught in on the border, free-speech, and, by extension, other debates that reflect LC readiness factors.
Mature, healthy Green [FS]: Inclusivity with nuance
Leunig’s cartoon represents a gamma trap that can prevent naïve Green [er/FS] from becoming healthy Green [FS]. Healthy Green has a correction for this. For example, inclusive local churches have overcome the obvious impossibility of naïvely including a registered child sex offender in the life of a congregation. Orange [ER] strategies create additional Blue [DQ] protocols (e.g., constant accompaniment by another adult who serves an accountability and compliance function) that make it possible for a congregation to fully include a pedophile in their love and care. Healthy Blue [DQ] arrangements provide that any protocol violation initiates a process leading to exclusion from full inclusion—note: healthy congregations find ways to safely maintain connection and ministry even if prison becomes a person’s ruling LC.
I never know what I’ve said till I hear the response. What did you hear me say?