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Weekend read: Ambivalence is awesome

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 5 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. Not everything that is old is bad. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured.

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might very well have changed in the 5 years since I wrote this post. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find pretty embarrassing today.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

This week’s recommended read is a real treat: a Slate article by Ian Leslie June about the value of ambivalence.

This article really spoke to me, as I’m someone who often finds myself saying “I’m not sure, I appreciate both sides of the argument”. And, for those occasions, I’m tempted to print out this paragraph on index cards to hand out to people who don’t appreciate that response (perhaps a long with a set that just read: “It’s a lot more complicated that that”, for people who doggedly press a single side of a debate without appreciating their opposition):

Ambivalence is not the same as indifference, with which it is often confused. Someone in an ambivalent state of mind is experiencing an excess of opinion, not an absence of it. An ambivalent person may feel very strongly about the subject at hand without reaching anything like a coherent point of view on it.

There are some other brilliant snippets in there too, including (and I’ll try not to spoil the article here) a description of a quite fascinating experiment at the University of Amsterdam’s “Uncertainty Lab” – who could resist visiting that? – and a discussion of the impact of ambivalence on political debate.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this article, and I hope you’ll read and appreciate it too.

This 2,047th post was filed under: Weekend Reads, , .

More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd December 2018)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd November 2018)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th October 2018)

The dog spanks the man (published 4th April 2005)

Queen: I’ve had enough of this (published 12th July 2007)

Michael Portillo makes sense shock (published 3rd July 2005)

Photo-a-day 25: Mannequins (published 25th January 2014)


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