The idea that the distinction between goal-oriented and dichotomous thinking is a fundamental issue first occurred to me sometime after 9/11. For the first 10 years I simply bounced the idea off friends and family. On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I decided to begin blogging and later began tweeting. Over the years I have only become more convinced that this is an issue of the greatest importance. The rise of ISIS, the increase in racial tensions and the choice of candidates in the upcoming U.S. election are, in my mind, clear demonstrations of the power of dichotomous thinking and the ease with which it spreads.

One hour ago, I uploaded my first YouTube video (https://youtu.be/yV9QYy6kzZE).    This video uses excerpts from the presidential debate held on September 26, 20126 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY as source material to attempt to illustrate the distinction between cortical, goal-oriented, problem-based thinking on one hand and simple dichotomous thinking on the other.

The choices of when a speaker was thinking dichotomously or not was made by me and are entirely open to debate. It is just this type of debate that I am hoping to stimulate. It is my firm belief that the battle between the cortex and the reptilian brain is humanities most fundamental problem. The ease with which simple back and white ideas flow over the internet is a threat to our survival as a species. We are in the middle of an epidemic of hate and mistrust fueled by dichotomous thinking.


I asked this question to a number of individuals at the 5th anniversary celebration of Occupy Wall St in Zuccotti Park in New York City (09/17/16). Here is a summary of the responses I got:


Selfishness x 3

Fear x 2

Lack of communication x 2


Lack of understanding of ourselves

Orthodox thinking

Our thoughts cover up our souls

We are trapped by our thoughts

We focus too much on problems, we need to catalyze fairness from within

Greed and megalomania

Violence to greed is destroying our planet

Envy, greed, materialism


Male dominance

Lack of connection among people

Forgetting our unity

Stratification of the human race (Master-, Puppet-, Sub-humans)

There is a moral crisis caused by rapid change

Poverty and starvation

Lack of a fair system to distribute our goods and services

Lack of political consciousness

War profiteering

Banks and military

International banking system


In conversing with each individual, I was able to show how most of the issues raised can be thought of as a direct subset of the larger problem of dichotomous thinking, particularly selfishness, greed, envy and problems related directly to thought or involving division among people. Fear can, at certain times, be beneficial, but is a problem when it leads to inappropriate or counterproductive dichotomous thinking directly interfering with problem-solving.  Dichotomous thinking is the reason for the various forms of division among people. I propose that dichotomous thinking contributes to the more systems oriented problems (last 6 on the list) by enabling gullibility and promoting apathy through distraction.

It has now been 5 years since I began actively blogging on this issue. Despite a lack of success in generating widespread interest in this issue, I have only become more convinced that the framework I am proposing is a useful one and that this is ultimately our most fundamental problem as a species. Nothing has validated this more than the rise of Trrummp whose direct appeal to the reptilian brain has come as a complete shock to many analysts who think primarily with their cortices. I continue to Tweet and several months ago, began working on a book which will attempt to spell this idea out more comprehensively.  As always any thoughts or feedback are greatly appreciated.