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Business Insights from Andrea Hill

Shades of Gray

17 October 2013
We Americans like our politics black and white but the most significant social issues are mess and there are no perfect solutions.

We Americans aren't particularly fond of subtleties. We like our politics black and white and our issues right or wrong. I once thought this was indicative of lack of intellectual energy, but lately I've been thinking we just like to fight. The problem is, most significant social issues are messy, and there are no perfect - or even near-perfect - solutions.

Most of us accept the basic messiness of intimate relationships and we take the good with the not-so-fun. So why do we think really big relationships - 10,000 or 100,000 or 1,000,000 strong - would be easier to manage?  I'd wager that folks who hold out for the perfect lover end up either single or bitter. If you're one of those I'm not talking to you, because you're not wired to understand the next thing I'm going to say.

We need to start embracing messy solutions. We need to get to the point where we're OK with making progress, even though it's not perfect. Most of all, we need to stop arguing at the polar ends of the issues, and instead start inching our way to the middle and one another. Society's great leaps have always looked huge in retrospect, but at the time each was more like putting one foot in front of the other. 

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