By Dr Mohamed Fouad
Last week, we spoke about the gripping polarisation turned mass mania. We have seen how it became easier and less painful to choose sides rather than be pragmatic about any situation. There is no doubt that we have been living three years where logic has been put on hold and all forms of progress effectively halted. The simple fact that thousands have perished and hundreds of billions have been squandered with no tangible change in sight is a phenomenon that could only be explained by how petty we have become. The unanswered question was how we reached this point, where logic becomes suspended in exchange for intuition.
We are embroiled in rhetoric and polarisation: the revolutionaries and the anti revolutionaries, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Anti Muslim Brotherhood, the pro Sisi and the anti Sisi… etc. Moving from this very premise, we have developed a nag to classify all occurrences and events through this pre-polarised outlook on life. What gives?
The first probable reason is the ample amount of doubt that we are used to exhibiting towards anyone and anything. We are naturally suspicious of all occurrences and often resort to conspiracy theories to explain several aspects that surround us. In the midst of this doubt, we are prone to generalising matters by taking sides. In such a case, all moderate thinking loses power and influence as the fabricated plot becomes much more interesting than the voice of reason.
Second is our deep desire to express an opinion. After a long period of non-participation, there is a sudden urge for everyone to chip in with an opinion. The majority of the times, people feel compelled to provide opinions on matters which they don’t fathom or have the necessary expertise to address. The easiest type of participation is passing judgments; the easiest type of judgment is a binary one. You are either with or against. The fact that you can express an opinion which might see valid point of views from two competing arguments is frowned upon and looked at as indecisive. JFK once noted: “Too often, we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought”.
The last reason is the flood of data that we are inundated with. It is perfectly normal that in the centre of all the enormous amount of data pouring down from all media outlets that we experience an overdose, reaching a stage where we have neither the time nor the will to analyze all of it into meaningful information. This does could never help a conducive decision making process. So once again, we strive to classify matters because the outpour of frantic events happen in a pace faster than our brain can accommodate at times. Therefore, in the absence of information, speculations fill the vacuum. The outcome of this is a natural tendency to relate events to preconceived stances and notions. We play into the hands of the ongoing childish game.
It is all right to express your opinion. However, in doing so, one must construct a logical thinking process that consists of listening to all points of views, and finally, an opinion can be reached. If any of those steps are compromised, it is important that one walks away from peer pressure to express an opinion. Logic can be suspended and the voice of moderation can be drowned in the ongoing frenzy but it will soon make a comeback. One would hope that by then, it is not too late.