God’s economy part 1

It has been said that the devil sends lies into the world in pairs of oppositesa)C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity Book 4. We like to choose sides. We find this at work in the opposite views of Individualism and Totalitarianism.

To be an Individualist I must regard others as having no bearing upon me. I reject that I am my brother’s keeper. Thus I am free to pursue that which benefits me and only me so long as I do not interfere with another individual’s right to do the same.

The opposite view is Totalitarianism which tells us that rather than volitional individuals each of us is an interdependent piece of a whole system allowing for no defense for or pursuit of individuality.

Both of these views are simple and wrong.  A strong desire to determine which is worse has consumed the vitality of scores of brilliant minds down through the ages. Wars have been fought and genocide perpetrated to convince the masses of one as being virtue and the other antisocial.

Perhaps one is worse than the other but I will not attempt to reach that conclusion here. My point is to consider the rapid and efficient polarization into almost perfectly binary groups as behavioral phenomena. My theory is that there is something at work inside us that makes us want to choose sides.  Virtuous outrage is what the devil wants and we like to give it to him. This is only achieved when we have at once a thing to cherish and a thing which threatens it. A third thing would muddle the whole affair.

References   [ + ]

a. C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity Book 4