I was watching "Real Time" the other night and it hit me again how trapped we all seem to be in thinking that for every problem there are only two answers: The Right Answer and the Wrong Answer. The panel was discussing the Obama administration's use of drones for targeted assassinations of possible terrorists. There are huge problems this whole notion, of course, ranging from violations of international law and the moral repugnance of planning to kill multiple innocents ("collateral damage") in an attempt to take out just one mastermind, but those aren't the subject of this post.
This is a situation we encounter all the time in our every day lives. We all know people who can't seem to figure out that for any situation there can be multiple responses. They decide that there is one Right Answer, and if for some reason that answer doesn't work out, they're paralyzed. The idea that there can be multiple right answers never sinks in. I'm not sure where this tendency comes from. It is the end result of being told over and over in school that there's only one right answer for any homework or test question? Have we been brainwashed by too many generations of politicians who insist publicly that there's only one policy solution to any particular problem? Are we humans just naturally lazy thinkers? We're always exhorting each other to "think outside the box" but we almost never do. It's a mystery.