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Ian Winer


Politics and Government

Ian Winer is an investor, philosopher, humanitarian, writer and public speaker who connects people to the truth of market places and human behavior. Ian is the author of the book, Ubiquitous Relativity: My Truth is Not the Truth. A regular contributor to CNBC, Fox Business, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Reuters, to name just a few, he is known for seeking connections through non consensus thinking and making it relatable to everyone.

Are we really more polarized now than we have ever been before? Or is it possible we just feel more polarized because we have lost connection to others? The Philosophy I created, believe and follow, known as Ubiquitous Relativity, facilitates connections, even with what we perceive as people on opposite sides of the spectrum.


One only has to study the Civil War to witness the extremes to which people will go in defense of their beliefs. Brothers fought against their own brothers in that conflict. West Point graduates who shared a room while enrolled at the United States Military Academy waged war on each other in the bloodiest of battles. At the time of this writing, we are not seeing the complete fracture of every institution in the country into two separate nations. There is loss of life in this country as a result of conflicting beliefs, but nothing remotely close to the millions of casualties from 1861-1865 In the late 1960s, violent protests erupted all over the country to end a war in Vietnam that bitterly divided a nation and to fight for the cause of civil rights. The imagery of that era is painful to watch, as Army soldiers killed college students and citizens burned their own draft cards. The riots and marches often grew violent. While we have our share of marches today, they are largely peaceful and without incident. So if polarization in beliefs has not increased, what has changed recently that makes this feel so much worse than in earlier years? I think there has been a dramatic falloff in our connections to other people – as a direct result of the new technology at our fingertips As we develop more technology to connect us to people all over the world, we require actual human interaction less. Before social media, if two people had a disagreement, they discussed it. Their discussion might sometimes be irrational, but nonetheless it happened and it was in person – or at least on a landline with a live voice on the other end of the phone. Now, discussion about issues is limited mostly to online posts and truncated 280-character messages. Over the last few years, many times I have heard someone remark, “I just had to ‘unfriend’ a lot of people because I cannot believe their views.” I remember a time when people had wildly divergent beliefs, yet could still agree to disagree over a dinner party. At Thanksgiving dinner, it is hard to “unfriend” someone. When we wall ourselves off from other opinions and thoughts, we only serve to increase our own biases. We lose the opportunity to learn something we did not know – something which could actually lead to a change in our mindset. We also flat-out lose the chance to influence others. If we are highly convinced of our opinion on a subject, is cutting someone completely out of our lives the best way to try to get them to see our point of view? We are now at a point in human interaction where we have substituted real emotional connection and discussion with electronic images that are already pre-programmed into our phones. This new reality serves to lessen further our actual physical and verbal interactions. Instead of stating how or why I am upset, I can simply select a face with a frown and send it to you. You can choose to ask me why I am upset, or simply reply with a thumbs-down emoji. This type of dialogue becomes so easy that we can have multiple conversations at once, yet fail to truly connect during any one of them. Once we improve our connections to each other, we may find we are actually no where near as polarized as some want us to believe.

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