- 2015 INDIES Finalist
- Finalist, Body, Mind & Spirit (Adult Nonfiction)
This is a must-read for those who seek to effect change by breaking down needless barriers between people.
Connecting dualism to fear, Dorothy Riddle explains human behavior in Moving Beyond Duality, the third volume in her Enough for Us All series. The book outlines how the human brain has overly simplified a complex, abundant universe into dualities, thus shaping what humans see and do.
This book argues that humanity’s historical fear of scarcity has brains wired to “see” things in a particular way—us versus them. Its nuanced discussions reveal the not-so-secret perniciousness of bigotry; stereotyping others; and objectifying the self, others, and the natural world. Internal practices and exercises are designed to wake people up to harm-causing actions and behaviors. The book also proposes steps to move beyond the dualistic stranglehold.
The first part of the book explores “The Habit of Duality” and the brain science behind it, showing why it’s so difficult to change. The second portion delves into categories and patterns like “objectification,” or treating others as objects for our own use, and “depersonalization,” which strips others of their personhood in different ways. The plain English translations of each concept serve as illustrative chapter titles, with simple phrases like “They’re Not Like Us” or “They’re Ours to Use” that strike a chord.
The book also presents pornography and human trafficking as illustrative, in extreme form, of the objectification of other humans. Other tendencies are virtually invisible, deeply woven into the fabric of human behavior as implicit bias. Benevolent bigotry, for example, assumes that certain people “need protection.” The author also takes on the unacknowledged objectification of nature and animals (“ours to use”). Life comes to sound subject to a middle school hierarchy, with the “in-group” and the “out-group.”
Self-reflection exercises in each chapter raise awareness and help to identify depersonalizing behavior as it happens. Using these practices, readers can increase consciousness and move to see their invisible patterns for what they are. With extensive notes, references, and three robust appendices, Riddle brings a scholar’s rigor to this timely discussion, if sometimes the prose seems to want for more of a personal touch.
Moving Beyond Duality is a must-read for those who seek to effect change in business, politics, and through NGOs. Those with open hearts and minds will be well served by this deep and nuanced discussion of why humans behave as they do, along with guidance and practices for waking up to do better, making this a strong addition to libraries with collections supporting-cutting edge disciplines of change.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.