The closer we get to the 14th of October referendum the more divided our society seems.


It is not our differing beliefs or values that is causing this divide, it is the difference in how we think.


The “Voice to Parliament” Referendum is polarizing our nation.


Whether you vote Yes or No will not be heavily influenced by your political or religious preference, I believe it will be decided by the type of thinking you employ and your willingness to listen to rational arguments from both sides as well as your ability to change your viewpoint.


I deliberately stay away from pushing my political beliefs or opinions in these Weekly Emails, and # 236 will be no exception. However, we are currently living through an historic national debate, that I feel needs some analysis.


How you unpack and prioritise the plethora of information about the proposed Indigenous voice to parliament and which way you vote in the referendum comes down to how you think about the key issues.


Psychologists propose that there are “four levels of thinking.”


Level 4 - Factual thinking = the highest level of thinking, characterized by seeking out opinions that challenge your beliefs.


Also called “scientific thinking” where you actively subject your beliefs to rigorous debate and scrutiny to ensure they are true and valid.


Factual thinkers do not mind being proven wrong or flawed by repeatedly testing their theories.


Level 3 Fairness and Objectivity = the type of thinking employed by a passionate supporter of a sporting team (as witnessed at the MCG last Saturday).


Sports fans want their team to win a hard-fought battle in a fair game.


This level of thinking is often biased towards one team or group, but it is important to honour the rules, fairness & equality.


Level 2 Defensive thinking = thinking like a lawyer.


This level of thinking focuses on winning the debate above all, regardless of the truth or fairness.

Defensive thinkers often bury or ignore information that goes against their beliefs or objectives.


Level 1Fanatical thinking = the lowest form of thinking.


A fanatic has no regard for factual information, and their aim is to damage, discredit, and silence anyone with opposing beliefs.


This type of thinking is divisive and is damaging to society.


“Many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices” Unknown.


The importance of how we think is well summarized by the following passage by Robert Glazer.


“In a high-functioning democratic society people are safe to debate and agree to disagree on a wide range of ideas. This respectful, thoughtful dialogue helps bring the best pressure-tested ideas to the surface and to evolve our viewpoints through an idea marketplace.

A low-functioning society places us in an echo chamber surrounded only by ideas that support our own beliefs, without understanding the perspectives of others. What results is a culture of polarization and isolation, where conflicting viewpoints are vilified, and existing beliefs grow more extreme.”

As the referendum approaches, I challenge you to reflect on how you have arrived at your decision to vote YES or NO?

Thanks for reading,

Stay safe and cast a well-considered vote.



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