Binary thinking is something that pervades our culture. It sets up every problem as a choice between two things and what’s more, it sees them as opposed to each other. The binary “screen” on life does not just see two options, but two options each of which wish to annihilate the other. The toxic outcomes are predictable.
Daniel Priestly notes another option, what he calls “directional thinking.” Directional thinking engages us in ” moving forward, a step closer, lighter grey/darker grey, an experiment, an opportunity to learn, smart-ish, safer, right-ish, wrong-ish, finished-ish.”
Sound familiar? It’s the appeal of Unitarian Universalism, to offer another way of pondering life besides what is served up in our culture–maybe even in our brains. There is some scientific speculation that binary thinking is hard wired in our reptilian brains (the most ancient part of us, evolutionarily speaking). It may be a part of our evolution that no longer serves us in a modern society.
Hope is future oriented. It relies on a sense of moving forward, a step closer, to options of this way or that way but with some sense that we head toward a better way.
Directional thinking. A new way of hoping?