Our Biggest Problem? The “Us Against Them” Mentality

When did the world become so disconnected … and siloed?

Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD
4 min readMay 31, 2024
Photo courtesy of author

It started with a chainsaw.

The vicious, intrusive, and unmistakable sound of a chainsaw powering up.

It felt as if the whole world was shaking.

Moments later, the doorbell rang.

“I’ll get it,” my wife said, moving towards the door. I checked my doorbell app and saw someone I didn’t recognize.

“Did you know they were going to trim the tree in front of our house?” my wife shouted.

“What?” I jumped up and ran to the door.

I love the trees surrounding our house. They are old and beautiful, add value to the property, and give everything a unique charm.

The chainsaw had to be stopped before irreparable damage was done.

“Don’t touch the tree!” I screamed, and the chainsaw powered down.

“We are from the solar panel company. We are here to remove the trees so the panels can be installed in a few weeks.”

“Nobody is going to touch my trees.”

“We weren’t informed about this,” my wife said, de-escalating the situation.

Different Worlds Collide



Erik P.M. Vermeulen, PhD

Prof (law) exploring the collision of life, work, and technology, with a current project in the works - a sci-fi novel.