beyond a binary society

Binary thinking is a lower level form of cognitive understanding, as put forward by Kieran Egan, which he calls Mythic Thinking. More complex forms of thinking are: Romantic, Philosophic, and Ironic. But binary, or mythic thinking, is an easy sell. It appeals to our emotions which we developed as children. Binary thinking blinds us. It’s not black and white, or right and wrong, or even Left and Right. Human society is many shades along various spectra.

“Every day I’m told our society, our system, has two sectors: the public sector and the private sector — the former referring to government and its agencies, the latter to the market system and its businesses. I’m also told that one sector or the other, or both in partnership, say as a public-private hybrid, offers the best way to deal with this or that domestic policy problem.

Our politicians, policymakers, and media commentators constantly rely on this public-private framework when they talk about fixing America’s health, education, childcare, housing, welfare, infrastructure, energy, communications, and environmental issues. Some proposals call for broader government programs; others urge more privatization; a few recommend improving public-private collaboration.” —David Ronfeldt

Thinking of our triform society as only Markets and Government (Institutions) ignores the influence and potential of families, communities, and the volunteer sector.  Public-Private Partnerships are not inclusive. They ignore the Civil sector. And now we are in need of a fourth, networked, sector — the Commons. Before we can start developing new metamodern structures for our global challenges we have to recognize our first sector, and give it voice. Voting every four years for a (mostly) binary choice is not a voice.

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