Contributor Faith Salie on the aural war that has divided a nation:
Listen to this:
Laurel, or Yanny?
What do you hear?
This past week, our country has been riven by the Yanny-Laurel Aural War – families torn apart, friends, neighbors, strangers mocking each other, questioning the very nature of reality.
When I first heard this ear-tricking, mind-bending meme, I heard Yanny. I heard Yanny, and I was right, and everyone who heard Laurel was wrong.
Then I played it again, just a few hours later, for my family, and I heard Laurel. Clear as day! Everyone around me looked at me like I was crazy and told me it was Yanny.
This made me both disturbed and self-righteous: how could these people I once loved and trusted reject my truth? How could half of America be so wrong?
Well, we were all correct, according to science. Both words are being said on different frequencies, and various folks hear it differently.
I can't help thinking maybe there's a lesson here, in today's fractious political climate: maybe when someone is 100% sure she's right, it doesn't mean someone else is 100% wrong.
Maybe someone who hears, thinks or feels something that we don't isn't crazy or stupid or unsound.
Maybe we'll hear something new if we listen again.
One man's Yanny is another woman's Laurel – at the same time.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."
Maybe America just got a little more intelligent.
So you know what? It hasn't just been a good week for this guy:
It's been good for all of us.
How refreshing that, for a few magical days, our country came together to wholeheartedly disagree, with passion and humor.
Also by Faith Salie:
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Story produced by Robbyn McFadden.