Versus Vs. Against

Out-of-the-box Vs. Anti-social

Street-smart Vs. Conman

Revolutionary Vs. Rabble-rouser

Leader Vs. Bandit

At first sight, it might appear I’m comparing opposites or extremes — good vs. bad. Some of them are indeed opposites, but not absolute opposites. Don’t they have more shared characteristics than differences?

Most entities with money and influence do their best to get us onto their bandwagon. Before joining in, one fact to keep in mind: in most cases, there are no absolute opposites, no extremes. Batman vs. Joker may have worked in the movies, but we don’t have such extremes in life.

The leader inspires his tribe to work for a cause. So does the bandit. Only for different purposes and goals.

They both share qualities such as charisma, energy, the ability to motivate, and more — qualities that are most visible to you and me, qualities that sway our minds and make us follow them, without really knowing the destination.

Virality and information abundance today trick us into believing that the latter is the former — that the rabble-rouser is a revolutionary, that the smooth-talker is a good samaritan. Not that it didn’t happen when there was no internet, but it seems to be getting worse.

How do you tell which is which?

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