The OED defines polarization as “division into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions or beliefs.” In physics, it can mean “the action of restricting the vibrations of a transverse wave, especially light, wholly or partially to one direction” or “the action of causing something to acquire polarity.”
I’ve noticed the word polarization used in several different contexts recently. In this post, I take a slice through a few of them and see what news items turn up.
Not surprisingly, most of the articles that I discovered had to do with politics. A quick search of YouTube using the key words polarization and politics turned up the following pieces among others:
Here are a couple of quotes that caught my attention:
“Life roars at us when it wants or needs us to change. Ultimately, change means trans formation, a shifting from one form to another that involves the magic of creation. The trouble with entrenched oppositions is that each side becomes increasingly one-sided and single minded and unable to grow or meaningfully change. In the blindness of fear and the willfulness of abstract beliefs, people forget or reject the unseen yet essential unity that underlies all the oppositions in life.”
–Michael Meade, Why the World Doesn’t End: Tales of Renewal in Times of Loss
“On either side of a potentially violent conflict, an opportunity exists to exercise compassion and diminish fear based on recognition of each other’s humanity. Without such recognition, fear fueled by uninformed assumptions, cultural prejudice, desperation to meet basic human needs, or the panicked uncertainty of the moment explodes into violence.”
“Democracy requires citizens to see things from one another’s point of view, but instead were more and more enclosed in our own bubbles. Democracy requires a reliance on shared facts; instead were being offered parallel but separate universes.”