False Dichotomies, or Why My Head May Explode

My facebook feed is a steady stream of extreme positions. I don't know how I ended up with so many friends who hold such completely opposing viewpoints on issues ranging from politics, religion, alternative meds, skepticism, etc. It often leaves me with mental whiplash and hesitant to comment on any friend's posts that deal with those issues.

Today, one right after the other, several friend's statuses either were pro-Autism Speaks or anti-Autism Speaks. Not touching any of them. I'm tired of the battles, of the certitude with which people hold their convictions and the even more fervent certitude that those who think or act differently are wrong, or worse, the very incarnation of evil.

It's not just whether you like AS or not. There's even this HUGE divide on issues like guardianship. Parents who seek guardianship are hypocrites? Really?

Do we want to go there? Do we really want to see the world in such stark terms, in such two dimensional ways? Do we really want to boil everything down to false dilemmas and make anyone and everyone on the other end of our arbitrary either/or position the villain in our story?

The world is not starkly black and white. The reasons for people's actions are rarely as simple and dichotomous as we would have them be. And the tendency for us to assume we know everything relevant to another person's situation is the height of arrogance.

It's not just these two issues, either. Every single day I read people posting far-right Republican information, information that is often easy to show false. I see far left Democratic statuses. And then there are the end-time statuses. And then there are the statuses by atheists...holy crap on a cracker, people!

There are the posts by people who think interventions to assist people/children acquire skills are awful, and those who think failure to intervene is terrible. There are the anti-vaccine, alt-med people and those who counter them. And there are countless other subjects about which it seems there are no middle positions.

About the only thing it seems any of my facebook friends can agree on is that cats and dogs are awesome. Thank gods for that, or my head would explode.


kathleen said...

You didn't mention chickens!! I for one am offended!! Are you anti-chicken..a poultist? I am dismayed! Hee!

Eric Fischer said...

Facebook will never be the correct forum for serious conversation, as part of the instant gratification culture of electronic media. Our attention span is that of a gnat due to the serious overload of information. Social filters, as you've mentioned in previous posts are degraded and what we are left with is not much more than reflexive output and you know that by definition a reflex does not reach the brain.

farmwifetwo said...

I find that most people prefer to repeat what others say than think for themselves.

Add in a little "computer" and what they wouldn't call you about, or sit across the table and tell you... becomes appropriate.

Personally, I have enough problems with my own children and the world they live in. Repeating untruths over and over again to get sympathy on either side of the argument increases my lack of respect for "autism-land" online.

Lisa Jo Rudy said...

I used to think this was specifically an issue surrounding autism. I've learned, however, that it is possible to fight like -- humans -- over an incredible range of topics, including just about anything that multiple people care deeply about.