Tell me, have you ever accosted an individual but were left speechless because you realized how narrow your opinion about a certain topic had been until that moment? I confess, I have. And if you haven’t, you’re either a person of God, or you’re highly ignorant. We all, at some point in our life, realize that our history, the consequences we have been brought up with have somehow swayed our opinion in an anchored direction and we have never questioned its rationale. It’s time we pop that bubble we have so inadvertently been strengthening all our lives.
Living in a bubble creates polar opinions, extreme to an unimaginable extent. Take an example of the political polarity in the U.S. The Democratic and Republican point of views are so polar that it’s hard to imagine that individuals on both sides are just regular human beings. It almost seems like they belong to different planets. The extremism in their ideologies also came out due to geographical boundaries. You’ll find certain states as democratic as they can be and others just as republican. Point being, the circles you spend time with can be bound by geographies and so can your ideology.
Talking about boundaries, let’s not only talk about physical boundaries but also virtual ones. Polarization caused by social media is a known problem amongst the moguls and they know how to make the most out of it to further their agenda. Consider this, you search about “How climate change is a hoax?” and you get flooded with numerous articles supporting that point of view. You process that information, go through the facts presented by them and are slightly convinced that maybe they have a point. Thanks to targeted marketing, next time you open your Facebook and you see forums popping up that support the same ideology, asking you to join. You think, well why not, let’s see what they have to offer. And so now you are a part of a community of people who think the same way about climate change. The conversations become quite one-sided and pretty opposing of the other side. Before you know it, you are completely invested in their beliefs and now you find yourself living in the same bubble.
Polarization not only has palpable geographical and virtual impacts but is also highly apparent demographically. How? Take our parents for example, it only takes a 15 min conversation on a sensitive topic to realize how polarized our opinions are to our parents. It’s like we belong to two completely different schools of thought. It’s like how Karen, wife of one of the main gangsters in the movie “Goodfellas”, talks about mobsters living in a bubble. It almost seems like killing, drug dealing and selling guns becomes normal to them because that’s the crowd they hang out with every day, no outsider ever.
My opinion, we have geographical, virtual and demographic factors to deal with when it comes to maintaining an open-minded attitude. It’s not easy, unless we consciously make efforts to question and rationalize, every time we find these factors pushing us in a certain direction. Look the other way and try to turn your point of views upside down occasionally. Maybe there’s truth on the other side as well.