When we view the world and others through “dualistic” lenses, we may likely block inclusion efforts. It is not uncommon to automatically view options as either/or, good/bad, right/wrong, us/them, you/me, rather than a broad spectrum of choices. When we go into that mode it can result in a win/lose scenario rather than an opportunity for a win/win. If we can become aware that our unconscious mind often chooses from the place of duality, we can pause and consider multiple options as a way to make a conscious choice. We can view the situation from a place of understanding and looking at the benefit for all.
Sometimes, we need to rely on dualistic thinking. For instance, when choosing to step off a curb into oncoming traffic, or not, dualistic thinking can keep us safe and within societal laws. In many situations it is the unconscious dualistic thinking that separates and positions us in a “must win” situation and therefore we run the risk of missing a “both/and” possibility.
The “isms” (i.e., racism, sexism, classism, etc.) we see and experience come from the place of dualism. One has to make their position or stance superior to another. Prejudices, stereotypes and biases fall in the dualistic thinking mode. We judge and categorize with dualistic lenses, automatically comparing ourselves to others. If we want to stop judging others, we need to start with ourselves.
Knowingly or not, we often have internal dialogue that compares ourselves to another and we let this inner narrator potentially choose the actions or opinions that we think will make us look or feel better. The subconscious rationale could be to pump up our own esteem or ensure that we do not lose our perceived standing. This sometimes comes from messages and images we have been taught or experienced which we are unconsciously holding onto. Our ability to bring awareness to those decisions provides an opportunity to consciously choose our actions. It can be a step toward growth and toward a more inclusive outcome.
Very interesting article by David Brooks. I believe it supports the importance of not succumbing to group think and either/or thinking, and much more about working for change. He notes great persons in history who worked tirelessly toward equality. http://mobile.nytimes.com/