#Edward Snowden alerts us to the real crisis of our time. It is a crisis of #American public opinion. Nothing more, Nothing less. And right now, how we think about Edward Snowden illuminates the fix we are in. There are two kinds of thinking, binary and triadic. Binary thinking is "my way or the highway." It stops at the number 2. #Triadic thinking is three stages. It weighs the ethics of every decision. It summons us to examine things in terms of the values we hold most dear, and it moves to a stage of action, of decision, in which what you do and say is the product of your ethical consideration.

This third stage values #truth and beauty. It sees life as aesthetic, ranging from the most beautiful to the ugliest.

Edward Snowden and triadic thinking

A triadic thinker does not act on the basis of anything but his own inner sense of values. The highest values of triadic thinking are tolerance, helpfulness, and democracy. The root of these three active values is non-idolatry. The problem for Edward Snowden is that the United States has for many decades been locked in a binary conundrum. We seem constitutionally unable to see more than two sides of any issue. In the midst of such polarization, Snowden is seen not as a person who could agonize over a problem and make a conscientious decision, but as a flat-out traitor or an absolute hero.

Some persist in seeing Snowden as a traitor. Among them, Donald Trump, who has tweeted as much. Others have a second opinion. They see Snowden as an American hero.

The truth is that like all of us Snowden is a spectrum, a complex, individual being who may one day operate thoughtlessly and the next day operate with great sensitivity.

He is a person whose conscience works. The fact is that conscience works in everyone. It is what goads us into ethical thinking. When we think ethically, we move carefully to a decision that will have truth and beauty. That is triadic thinking and that is what Snowden did. Right or wrong, he thought the best way to end the terrible polarization wracking America was to act as he did.

Edward Snowden and public opinion

And was Edward Snowden's action perfect? By no means. None of our actions are perfect. But it was considered and he placed values above a merely knee-jerk sense that he wanted to somehow injure or pay back anyone.

The fate of Edward Snowden is presently unpredictable. I am fearful that he could become a pawn in a deadly game -- as the video above indicates the pickle we are in. If he thinks Snowden is a traitor and Putin would trade him for some consideration or other, well, you can connect the dots.

Edward Snowden is afraid of the tyranny of the majority in the United States, but we have seen from the 2016 election that we are in a pickle still. Hillary won a majority.

The electoral college gave Trump the win. The real question is whether triadic thinking that is based on tolerance, democracy, and helpfulness will prevail. Edward Snowden would then be able to return to the US and accept any lawful consequences. If we do not have such a conclusion, we are still in a pickle. Conflict politics will still be in the saddle, and America will have to wait until opinion changes.