Very few things actually require a binary choice
Except for On and Off, there are few things in life that are Either / Or.
There is almost always a middle option – more like 1,000,000 middle options, actually.
But in the public square, we’re often pressured to choose one or the other. This-or-That.
This can be referred to as a false dichotomy (which is the cousin to limiting beliefs, which I covered here).
A false dichotomy is a fallacy that erroneously limits what options are available. The source of the fallacy lies not in an invalid form of inference but in a false premise.
It’s not that the choices are not valid choices, but that they are not the only choices:
- Good or evil
- Black or white
- Democrat or Republican
- Diet or overindulge
- Immigration or homelessness
- Mask or no mask
- Rich or poor
- Defund or defend
Until we accept that these complex challenges require complex answers, we will forever live in the great debate.
Complex answers don’t fit well in Tweets or the 5 o’clock news. They don’t make great headlines or get claps on Medium. Because of this, we’re rarely offered the opportunity to discuss complex issues; people want the punchline. The quick answer.
They want the talking point so they can start their own avalanche of opinion.
We will never reach a consensus if we are pitted against each other. Compromise and conversation do not flourish in chaos.
Instead, consider that the correct answer may include:
- It’s complicated
- It’s a tough choice
- There is no right answer
- The best of two bad choices
- It will take work from both of us
- There is no one solution
- What works best for you may not work best for me
- A lot of smaller decisions will work better than a few big ones
- We probably don’t have all the facts
- It’s okay to disagree
- I respect your perspective, but I see the problem differently
- I am hesitant to trust the mainstream sources
- I haven’t reached a definitive position yet
Don’t get trapped into thinking you must choose from one or the other. Look for alternatives. They exist.
All 1,000,000 of them.
All the best,
I’m so thankful you’re here. If you are a new reader, try checking out this popular post that was previously shared with other passionate people like you: