How Others Think and Behave

I used to think there was a scale between the far right and the far left and we ride along its slippery bar from time to time. But I couldn’t be more wrong.

Over the past few years, I developed an unhealthy religion about my political views. I grew up slightly middle class in a family of slightly middle class people. I left the UK in ’79 as Thatcher came to the throne. In part I liked her. She was fresh and strong. Just what we needed. But I grew to hate her. My slide had begun. But the truth is, it wasn’t a political decision, it was a decision based on what I wanted for this world. My values.

These are not blue and red political churches, these are hard wired DNA processes that drive us into alleys of either tangible or abstract thinking.

Tangible thinkers are more conservative (small c). They are dutiful and compliant. They take personal responsibility for their own world but cannot take any responsibility for the bigger picture. They are concerned with doing the right thing for them and their own kind. They do what’s right for them. They have frameworks in which they operate and will strive to maintain the integrity of those frameworks at all cost. They need these frameworks to fall back on and rely upon. They reflect upon the wider world only to position themselves within it but not to take any responsibility for it.

Abstract thinkers are more open and think in aesthetics. They see the big picture and know that if they can just move what they have to just over there it will make a small difference to the whole world, even if it means making small sacrifices for the greater good. Abstract thinkers can deal with rapid change and even chaos. They are not so comfortable with frameworks or prescribed views. They can see in multilayers almost in three dimensions. But one key thing that defines an abstract thinker is that they will fight for the rights of the conservative thinker even if they fundamentally disagree with them.

Two opposing forces that gave us Brexit and a recent Tory victory even though neither decisions were rational or based on facts. This happened simply because there are way more conservative thinkers than there are abstracts. Politically speaking, traditional left voters, conservative by nature, voted for the Tories because they needed the secure frameworks offered in their agenda. Take Back Control. Get Brexit Done. No Deal Better Than a Bad Deal. Brexit Means Brexit. The Will of The People. All of them carefully thought out psychological frameworks that would appeal to conservative thinkers on both sides of the political scale. The left offered a manifesto full of abstract concepts about spending and looking after everyone whilst seemingly taking away any aspiration to do well, or they will tax your success.

There’s a place in this world for both and all it takes is the will to understand each other. But we don’t. We argue on social media. We become entrenched in our bunkers and bomb craters. We hold up in our remote cabins of thought and hold onto our cups that filleth over, which, we refuse to share. Why? Because it suits those in power to keep us divided.

If we want a better world then we need both the conservative and abstract thinkers to venture into no man’s land and have a political kick about. Once we all realise that all we want is a better world for everyone, and to stop shooting at each other, we can share our combined wisdom and work together to achieve it.

Photo by Luther Bottrill on Unsplash – a creative talent from my home town.