Balance Is the Key in Our Current Culture Wars
Ada Akpala – (Originally published on PsychReg)
The immune system is one of the most fascinating biosystems in the universe. Though methods to “boost” or “strengthen” immunity have received a lot of attention, our complex and sophisticated defence network actually requires balance rather than strength to function optimally. Being too “weak” renders it ineffective against potentially fatal diseases and invasive pathogens, while being too “strong” causes the body to misidentify its own cells as the enemy and attack itself, leading to the many debilitating autoimmune diseases that impact both the body and mind.
Balance is a very underrated source of power, sustainability, and progress. This is true not only of the immune system, but also of the universe itself: consider how its electrically-neutral structural design prevents it from imploding or exploding on itself. The fact that human life can have a sense of order, predictability, and continuity despite the prevalence of both natural and anthropogenic disorders is a testament to the efficiency with which this finely calibrated machine synchronises, directs, and organises everything to near-perfection.
So why is it that many of us struggle to find balance in the current cultural climate if the universe is capable of maintaining such equilibrium? Balance in relation to our thought processes and reactions. Each new local, national, or international event exacerbates polarisation and pushes everyone further into their respective political and ideological camps – wokeness versus anti-wokeness, left versus right, liberal versus conservative, etc.
We are currently engaged in a battle of ideas, beliefs, and philosophies. The internet and social media, which provide unprecedented access to information and knowledge, have undoubtedly accelerated this intellectual warfare. The conflict remains intense. Traditionalists seek to preserve and conserve values that have stood the test of time and contributed to the formation of many successful civilisations, both past and present, whereas progressives appear to issue a new moral admonition every day about why said traditional values and classical beliefs are, in fact, oppressive, racist, and exclusive. Such denunciations even extend to the very language we use.
Many of us are forced to choose sides as the tensions ramp up, and while I strongly dislike the idea of picking sides, I must confess that there are many ideas in radical progressivism, or “woke ideology,” as it is sometimes called, that don’t sit well with me. This is especially true when it comes to questions of race and identity. For example, I particularly reject the notion that people of certain races are fated to remain powerless unless there is a “power shift” in society or that I, as a person of African descent with dark skin, automatically falls into the category of the “oppressed” and that life will be harder for me simply because I am not White. Fortunately, my “lived experiences” have repeatedly disproved such theories, and I was able to achieve many successes and seize opportunities that many of my White peers struggled with (not that this should be the measurement for success, even though it seems like it is). Of course, I am frequently told that my experiences do not count or contribute meaningfully to the conversation because I am somewhat of an exception. I’m curious when such people will realise that there are many “exceptions”, such as myself.
Slight rant aside, there are indeed many misconceptions being promulgated by the media, academic institutions, and political organisations that need to be refuted. But I must always remember that my battle is against bad ideas, not people. Many people frequently forget this, which makes them even lose sight of who they are and what they stand for. Tucker Carlson, the compelling primetime Fox news host, recently had a conversation with Charlie Kirk, the director of Turning Point. While discussing religion, politics, power, the fallibility of man, and how unintelligent Sam Harris was because he was an atheist, Tucker Carlson explained that his failed analysis and predictions about the midterm elections were due to his hate of the “new neo-liberal anti-human agenda that is sweeping the West.”
As I listened and nodded, I pondered how many other people in comparable high positions would be as humble and self-critical, qualities that are becoming increasingly rare in a culture that favours pretentiousness and a know-it-all attitude. It made me realise that what we really need in the current culture wars is fewer alternative voices “going against the grain” and more balanced ones. We all appear to be on a noble quest to better our world or save humanity, though different groups have different ideas about how to do so, but what good does it do if we become so polarised and ideologically divided that we can’t even tolerate coexistence with one another, and some even casually call for civil war? (Those who truly understand what war is typically don’t ask for it.)
The cultural shift has some positive and, unfortunately, many negative aspects. There is a coordinated attack on free speech; people are being called racists simply for loving their country or for choosing not to judge people by the colour of their skin; others are being called “race traitors” simply for not thinking in accordance with mainstream narratives; children are told that they were born in the wrong bodies, and so on. This will undoubtedly provoke a knee-jerk reaction from those of us who believe otherwise. But we must not allow ourselves to become just another voice in the “crowd of madness”.
Mutual respect, reason, and good faith are the foundations upon which we can connect with and communicate with others. We should strive to present our ideas without derision, contempt, or other counterproductive tactics. Using the same methods as the people you claim to be fighting against makes you no different from them. Racism is not eliminated by more racism; hatred is not eliminated by more hatred; inequality is not eliminated by more inequality; and we shouldn’t assume that imbalance can be eliminated by more imbalance.