i understand human nature as nothing more than a response to perceptions, stimuli, external conditions, based on human biology.
in that context, trying to understand what nihilism is a response to? what is extremism a response to? what is intentional, willful ignorance a response to?
i understand the increasing polarization in american society as a response to a perceived need to vanquish certain societal ills, a need to draw clear divisions between ally & enemy, towards that end. i believe that perception (that certain ills must be eradicated) is based on collective senses of being victimized, unhappy, and an inability to exercise autonomy over one’s life.
as a budding nihilist, i don’t believe in absolutes (or anything, really), but it seems clear to me that a certain amount of decentralizing our political and economic systems would make most of us happier, because those in leadership positions would control smaller groups of people, allowing people in those communities to have more input in decision-making processes, and thus more autonomy.
i think this polarization into “us” vs. “them” ultimately makes everyone less happy because while we are accumulating more troops, we also accumulate more enemies. the initial objectives to be achieved become increasingly diluted as more perspectives must be accommodated into the narrative of “us”. allies become enemies and “us”es turn into “them”s as goals change.
i see this on the left. certainly, there are those who genuinely want equity and liberation for all people. they are anti-racist, feminists, respective of all genders, sexual identities, physical abilities, and income levels.
but break downs begin. does indigenous sovereignty include african-americans brought here involuntarily? or are african-americans another group of invaders exploiting this land and the descendants of the original inhabitants*?
what does black liberation mean? is it a term solely meant to describe an economic and political freedom? or does it apply to black people who transgender, or queer?
does immigrant rights mean opening our borders? and what effect will that have on those already here?
is abortion a woman’s right? or is it a tool of white supremacy, perpetuating black genocide?
i have my own answers to these questions.
my point is that i believe some balance must be struck between the the individual and the group, and that the inability to maintain this balance is the source of lots of human unhappiness.