In Uncategorized on December 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm

I’ve noticed, in myself and in a lot of other young Westerners, an addiction to nuance. It’s a general feeling—often before facts are known—that highly ideological or polarized perspectives are wrong almost by definition, and that the most moderate, subtle, and equivocal viewpoint is correct.

I think this reflex makes a lot of sense given the environment in which many of us were raised. My schoolteachers were careful to present historical figures as complex, flawed personalities, and to describe world events from the perspectives of all involved. The culture as a whole continues to insist on the same broad-mindedness, and to punish insensitivity with remarkable harshness.

I think this cultural trait creates people who are (at least outwardly) sensitive and caring, and well-suited to the immense and spiraling complexity of the present world. But I have noticed, at least in myself, an odd inability to deal with simple, rugged situations. Someone sits down at your table and eats your sandwich, right off your plate. What to do?


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