Leadership insights from Paul Robinson garnished with a splash of humour
The Absurdity Epidemic: A Satirical Take on Political Polarization
The Absurdity Epidemic: A Satirical Take on Political Polarization

The Absurdity Epidemic: A Satirical Take on Political Polarization

In a world where absurdities reign supreme, where reason takes a backseat and blind allegiance drives the bus, Voltaire’s words echo louder than ever: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Picture this: a society divided, not by geography or ethnicity, but by the insidious tendrils of political, racial and religious ideologies. On one side, fervent believers in the gospel of the left; on the other, staunch defenders of the right. And in between? A chasm so wide, it’s filled with the echoes of hatred and resentment.

Take a trip down memory lane to Nazi Germany, where the absurd notion of Aryan superiority led to the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust. Or Mussolini’s Italy, where fascism reigned supreme, drowning out dissenting voices with the roar of propaganda.

Fast forward to the present day, and you’ll find that history has an uncanny way of repeating itself. In the post-truth era of fake news and alternative facts, absurdities have found fertile ground to flourish once more.

But who are the puppet masters pulling the strings? Look no further than the political authorities who capitalize on the division and discord they sow. They peddle absurdities like candy, knowing full well the atrocities that may follow in their wake. As a result we have witnessed the rise of zionist movements, apocalyptic preachers, islamic and hindu state just by proselytizing believers around the world. And when you have a rising majoritarianism supporting this, a totalitarian political movement is just as easy as text book propaganda of “our brand is crisis”

Why do men sometimes morph into irrational beings when they’re in groups? Is it some kind of psychological alchemy that turns individual sensibility into a cacophony of absurdity? Frederick Nietzsche once remarked, ‘Madness is rare in the individual—but with groups, parties, peoples, and ages it is the rule.’ And Charles Mackay echoed this sentiment, famously declaring, ‘Men, it is said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses more slowly, and one by one.’

It’s a common notion that collective wisdom prevails, but let’s not forget the darker side of group dynamics. Cults and hate groups serve as stark reminders that the collective mind isn’t always the sharpest tool in the shed. Just look at the polarization of American society, where understanding the dispensationalist narrative becomes crucial. To some, it’s as bizarre as aliens landing in Times Square, but to others, it’s as familiar as their favorite blockbuster movie. Televangelists like Jerry Falwell and Jim Bakker thrive on this narrative, appealing to those who see the world through dispensationalist-tinted glasses.

Mass ignorance and polarised stupid debates are getting to the mainstream. Ah, the age-old debate of whether the world is flat or round! It seems like a relic from the history books, but believe it or not, there are still folks out there who swear by the flat earth theory. Now, if that doesn’t make you wonder about the state of our collective intelligence, I don’t know what will!

In this wacky era of the Information Age, you’d think we’d all be swimming in a sea of knowledge, but alas, it seems like some folks are still paddling in the shallow end. Are we witnessing a downward spiral in intellect, a regression into the dark ages of ignorance? It’s enough to make even the most optimistic thinker question humanity’s mental acrobatics.

Imagine we’re all bobbing around in a giant ocean of information, just trying to stay afloat. Now, in this vast sea, we’ve got everything from deep, serious thesis papers to their playful opposites, antitheses, and then the magical synthesis that sometimes emerges. It’s like a buffet of ideas from different angles and fields, all there to spice up our mental menu.

You see, having this smorgasbord of perspectives can really jazz up our understanding of the world. Picture it like wearing different pairs of glasses to see things clearer—except these glasses are made of ideas. And just like F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function”. But alas, not everyone’s brain is up for the circus act. Some folks struggle to handle conflicting viewpoints and end up in a tangle of cognitive confusion. Instead of embracing the mental potluck, they cling to their own beliefs like a lifeline, afraid to let in anything that might rock the boat. And let’s face it, when rationality takes a backseat, we’re all in for a bumpy ride.

Take it from psychologist Philip Tetlock, who’s spent years studying the forecasting skills of experts. Turns out, the ones who can digest a mixed bag of ideas tend to navigate life’s waters better than those stuck in a single ideology. In his words “those who took into account a wide variety of often contradictory viewpoints performed better than those who viewed the world through a single theoretical lens”. In simpler terms, beware of the zealots—whether they’re preaching politics, religion, or the gospel of finance. There will be another tulipmania or another sectarianism theory of human separation. Because let’s be real, anyone who can’t handle a little criticism or a different point of view might as well have a zombie for a brain. And trust me, that’s not a good look.

But hey, maybe there’s a silver lining in all this madness. Perhaps the flat earthers are just trying to keep us on our toes, reminding us that in the vast expanse of knowledge, there’s always room for a little skepticism and a whole lot of critical thinking. After all, if we can’t laugh at ourselves for entertaining such ludicrous notions, then what’s the point of living in this wonderfully weird world?

In a world where reason should reign supreme, it’s disheartening to see even the brightest minds fall victim to the siren song of sensationalism. They’re like kids in a candy store, except instead of sweets, they’re gobbling up conspiracy theories and biased opinions faster than you can say “fact check.”

It’s a bit like watching a wolf in sheep’s clothing, convincing the lambs to march straight into the lion’s den for a bit of afternoon tea. Who knew that fables from centuries ago would be so relevant today? But alas, here we are, witnessing the age-old tale of manipulation unfold in a modern-day setting.

And let’s not forget about the puppet masters pulling the strings behind the scenes. These are the masterminds who understand human nature better than Freud and the power of propaganda better than Goebbels. They’re the real MVPs of this twisted game, using their cunning to shape public opinion and influence policies that affect us all.

So next time you feel tempted to join the herd of “educated ignorants,” just remember: knowledge is power, but only if you use it wisely. Otherwise, you might find yourself sipping on the Kool-Aid of misinformation faster than you can say “I told you so.”

And yet, amidst the chaos and confusion, there is hope. For satire has a way of shining a light on the absurdities of our world, exposing them for what they truly are: a house of cards built on a foundation of lies.

So let us laugh in the face of absurdity, for in doing so, we rob it of its power. Let us unite in our shared humanity, casting aside the shackles of blind allegiance and embracing the light of reason.

For as Voltaire so wisely observed, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” But they can’t make us lose our sense of humor. Not yet, anyway.

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