Hut Hut

Dear J-

Over the weekend I wrote something provocative on Twitter, which received a probably appropriately angry response from someone I don’t know but obviously disagree with, so I poked the bear a little more and received several incoherent responses. This is life on the Internet nowadays, I suppose, so I shouldn’t be too surprised, and I’m not saying I didn’t do my part in inciting everything, but wow. And wow. After the initial adrenaline rush and horror (someone on the Internet hates me!) I realized the best thing would be to move on with my life and ignore the dissenting voices, which is how we’ve come to the polarized state we’re in now, not wanting to listen to those who would challenge us.

Let me explain. The more diversity of opinions you ingest the healthier your outlook on things; this is analogous to eating a balanced diet, for instance (not just steak & potatoes all night every night), key to a healthy lifestyle. You are informed. I’ve talked in the past about how media today has allowed us to do nothing more than listen to the echo chamber of your choosing, whether liberal or conservative (here in the US that means left-wing communists or right-wing fascists, respectively: I think that’s sufficiently offensive to both camps). There’s a third group, too, who call themselves libertarians and insist on remaining self-made Ayn Rand-ites even when drawing on government help.

Point is you now have all these outlets you can spend hours listening to folks who think the same as you, which tends to reinforce your point of view (seeing things in print is more authoritative, even if those words are printed on a screen). It’s become too easy to stop thinking for yourself. (insert something about how society as whole is reflective of this) um … we’re comfortable not challenging ourselves to see what the other side(s) have to say, jumping directly to inchoate shouting down other viewpoints. That’s going to be a huge issue going forward, as we’ll lack the critical skills to learn from our mistakes. It’s never been about how wrong you are, only that you’re willing to change in response instead of defiantly holding on to inflexible tenets and assertions.

Mike

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