Why is Binary Thinking harmful to Humanity? | An Essential Lesson for a Society Built on Capital | The Double-Edged Sword of Art
With Gilles Deleuze, William James, Charles Eisenstein, Slavoj Zizek, and Carl Jung
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So…let’s enter the labyrinth.
Why is Binary Thinking Harmful to Humanity?
“The self is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two multiplicities.” — Gilles Deleuze
“The theorizing mind tends constantly to the over-simplification of its materials. This is the root of all that absolutism and one-sided dogmatism by way of which both philosophy and faith have been infested.” — William James
Truth is always lost in binary thinking.
The rigid divisions we operate under, such as left/right or masculine/feminine or good/evil, oversimplify and reduce the wide variances of reality into tidy categories.
Truth is lost in this division.
And those categories inevitably create division.
This then creates a hierarchy of power; a hierarchy that is built by a dominant group that has an interest in maintaining that power, as they can then continue controlling the narrative.
If you control the narrative, you control the truth.
What’s the best method of control?
Oversimplifying truth into a packaged truth intended for your prescribed group and proclaiming it as absolute.
What does this look like?
Watch any news broadcast. Fox News has a packaged truth for their base, and MSNBC has a packaged truth for their base.
What are they selling? Truth.
And what’s packaged in this truth? A group.
And what do they want? Their group to accept their oversimplified packaged truth as absolute.
How do you sell the package? You tell them they’re free. Who doesn’t want to be free, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re actually free, only that you’ve convinced yourself that it is so.
If you don’t fit into their narrative, if you aren’t right with them, if you don’t believe their packaged truth, then you’re the enemy. And why? Because you aren’t accepting their absolute truth as absolute. How do they control this? By telling others that if they don’t accept the package (truth) their freedom will be taken away.
Now, the packaging becomes easier with labels, stereotypes, and easily digestible boxes. Anything to protect the truth of an initial assumption. This oversimplified packaging makes it easier to take in only information that maintains the truth of the created label.
We do anything to prevent ourselves from acknowledging the complexity of existence. Reprogramming the mind into a state of non-binary is becoming one with a constant state of uncertainty, and making peace with that uncertainty.
Remember: the enforcement of the binary becomes the protection of the status quo. You’re not a revolutionary thinker with this embrace, you simply have accepted the truth from another.
And sometimes we convince ourselves that the process of embracing another’s truth is… progress.
“In a perfect world, everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn’t a perfect world. The problem is people who think it is.” — Neal Shusterman
“A concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason. Or it can be thrown through the window.” —Gilles Deleuze
Down with the binary! The embrace of the binary brings with it the death of nuance. Rules? Traditions? They are made to be broken. These rules are useful only so far, but creativity comes within the grey area of the binary. You break the rules just enough, but when society deems you’ve gone too far, you become shunned for your supposed insanity. Blasphemy?
What do you think?
An Essential Lesson for a Society Built on Capital
“How many talented people sacrifice their youth hoping for an early retirement to a life of freedom, only to find themselves, at midlife, enslaved to their money?” — Charles Eisenstein
“Because the horror of Communism, Stalinism, is not that bad people do bad things — they always do. It’s that good people do horrible things thinking they are doing something great.” — Slavoj Zizek
“Almost any time someone gets an exciting creative idea, the thought, “how can we make money from this?” follows close behind.”—Charles Eisenstein
“When we are shown scenes of starving children in Africa, with a call for us to do something to help them, the underlying ideological message is something like: “Don’t think, don’t politicize, forget about the true causes of their poverty, just act, contribute money, so that you will not have to think!”― Slavoj Zizek
Are your ideas your own?
What about your desires?
The best method of convincing people they are free is to distract them so thoroughly they cannot even begin articulating their lack of freedom.
We want freedom to pursue our desires, yet how many of us ask ourselves for the foundations of our desires? And no, not the reasons for your desires. I’m asking you for the foundations. The foundations of our desires are never your own because you can never escape the structures in place. We are of society.
The structures in place have their own ends, motivations, and objectives for influencing your desires. Your sense of individuality is imprisoned by a reality that disregards the collective societal power over oneself.
We must never forget what civilization is that is built upon the foundation of capital: it promotes economic activity and the production of commodities. It is not concerned with human well-being as long as it ensures the creation and production of further capital.
The Gods of modern civilization have become corporations. They want us to worship at their altars and they will call this form of worship justified in the name of science, but we must always remember they are not divine; to believe otherwise is idolatry.
The corporation doesn’t seek your good or my good, but only the maximum accumulation of capital. They only want you to convince yourself that you’re “good enough” “happy enough”, but even further, they want you to believe you only need a little more to finally be good enough; to finally be free. They use this tactic as manipulation to keep you coming back for more, and working for more, and we pursue more — like a drug.
But this drug has a paper trail.
No, that’s “failure” they say. Being content? You don’t want to be “mediocre,” right? Who defines mediocrity? The society built on capital. Our God is money, and we spend our life convincing ourselves that foundation is made for the good of humanity. We tell ourselves that we’re a free-thinker that just so happens to fall in line with exactly what the established society has made up for us.
They have convinced you that you’re free, a free-thinker, and have come to your beliefs by the power of your reason. And yet? You have allowed yourself to be consumed by their reason.
They want you to make peace with the mundane because you become easily convinced that you only need a little more to finally be truly enough.
Question people’s false idols.
Every generation of old wants to avoid admitting they were once the radicals with new ideas, so to avoid this truth—they call their ideas tradition.
A Note to the Reader: the “they” in this letter are intended to be vague…it’s a placeholder for the reader. I hope you enjoyed it.
Okay, this next section is a more personal reflection…I hope you enjoy:)
The Double-Edged Sword of Art
"Through my walk with the patients, I realized that paranoid ideas and hallucinations contain a germ of meaning. A personality, a life history, a pattern of hopes and desires lie behind the psychosis."—Carl Jung
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