The Town Scryer is a mixed bag of humor, socio-political observations and ephemera from the perspective of a eclectic Pagan veteran of the counter-culture.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Binary Thinking In An Analog World

I am sure this phenomenon has nothing at all to with reliance on computers, but it makes a nice metaphor so I'm keeping it if it's all the same to you. America has fallen into a very binary way of thinking about politics or religion or foreign policy. By this I mean that people have been trained, largely by people who are in favor of foreign intervention by means of real or implied force and increased police power, to think in terms of "If you are not with us you are the enemy". A or B. On or off. Few explore the excluded middle where all of the actual thinking takes place. This is a pity. That's where all of the interesting stuff seems to be. 

The same thing seems to be happening in religion. The conversation seems to be dominated by the Dominionist Fundamentalist Christians like Pat Robertson and the C Street Family in Washington D.C. on the one flank and the militant, and rather nastily sarcastic atheists like Richard Dawkins and to a certain extent Bill Mahr, (whom I tend to forgive because at least he makes fun of a lot of the people I don't like). In the middle are the Methodists and the Buddhists, the Witches and the Quakers, the Unitarians and Hindus and all of the other people who have no interest at all in forcing their ethics on anyone else by codifying them into law or by any other means. A lot of us don't even think you need to believe what we do to be "saved". We are, for the most part, quite content to leave you alone. 
Lately neither side seems willing to return the favor. The Fundies seem bent on starting the Crusades all over again while turning the clock back to the 19th century as far as legislating the Old Testament Law goes. On the other flank we are treated to the seeming oxymoron of evangelical Atheism. I understand that a persecuted minority feels the need to push back, but a lot of evangelical Atheists are mocking many of the groups that have been defending their rights.

Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. 

Maybe it does have something to do with computers. Do you suppose our spending so much time with them has programmed us to think in on/off terms and forget about thesis + antithesis = synthesis?

Just a thought.

Be seeing you.


  1. I'll be the first to admit it. I will often take a laugh where I can find it. I'm also somewhere on the agnostic/atheistic end of the spectrum, but I don't have a problem with those who have a faith in something outside themselves. There are times I wish I did, but I'm done with trying to fake something I'm not outside an rpg. One thing I do believe in is the vital need for honesty and authenticity in one's personal and public life. I think there is a way to common ground in that.

  2. That's fine. I am troubled mostly by the mean-spirited extreme. And there are FAR more offensive Fundies that Atheists.