Deception

There are fewer hard edges in life than we like to pretend. 

We like to think that there sharp divisions, but in many areas of life, things grade gradually from one state to the other. 

For example, many people insist that their handedness is either right or left. But when we give them a “handedness inventory” to complete, they realize that many things get done off-handed. So it’s not as hard an edge as they thought. This mixture extends into many areas, including politics, diet, and other choices. People can become agitated when the inconsistencies get pointed out to them. They appear to be not what they wished. You’ll get accused of magnifying the minuscule. Cherished conceptions of self are seemingly contradicted. The liberal finds his conservative traits repulsive, and the conservative is horrified by those creeping crawling liberalities. The Litmus test prooves limited.

I made a reasonably good living creating programs that pointed these sorts of things out to people in safe environments. As a practicing anthropologist, I wasn’t so concerned about the divisions as about putting people into positions and places where they might be interested in exploring what they held in common. Commonality at least provided a basis for understanding and accommodation. So my goals were reasonably low level. I wasn’t too concerned with Kumbayah moments; getting them to communicate was more critical.

Things have become so strident that the programs I used to do are impractical. People are more interested in beating each other down than beating a system that divides them into neat little hard-edged boxes.

It’s deceptive because there are fewer hard edges in life than we like to pretend.

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