I have been decidedly absent from the world as i knew it for the past years and i really needed that break. It did help that this break even enforced some pretty drastic isolation and made me hide in remote places even more.
Looking from my remote outpost onto the world we have today i can’t help but feel sad about the inability of having a discussion. It seems as if we have collectively decided that a discussion is too confronting and it is way easier to just focus on existing beliefs. It feels like we either shout at or block opposing views. This, to me, feels like a toddler that decides to either cry till they get what they want or put their hands in front of their eyes pretending that the world stops existing.
I see a lot of people struggling with the overload of information and see them curate an information stream that enforces their existing biases and then complain loudly about everything that doesn’t fit into their existing belief bubble. Just like the toddler many of us are utterly upset if something doesn’t fit into our existing biases and instead of building bridges to help understand others and to offer others to see a different world we decide to lock the door and pretend that the other world is evil and needs to be kept outside.
This deepening polarisation and utter unwillingness to have a balanced discussion about any topic leads to not being able to even formulate an argument and a culture has formed that pretends having a discussion is already going too far. Everything a person ever said or did can be wiped out by having a small branch of that persons belief system grow outside our bubble of comfortable beliefs. Everything that exists outside our comfort zone is confronting and therefor has to be blocked out.
There is a really interesting observation i made in the English language, not being a native speaker is really helpful sometimes. In English offence is taken not given. That means i have a choice if i feel offended or not and that, to me, is at the core of many of our current struggles. Deciding to be offended means i close all doors for a discussion and am in my toddler stage where i put my hands in front of my face, i may throw myself on the floor and cry a bit for added effect but it does not change the world.
I personally work on not being offended by anything. I work on trying to understand why the other person has fears that lead to world views that don’t correlate with mine. I try to find ways for a dialog and try to be open for people to ask me hard questions instead of shutting them down because they could hurt my world view. I observed that increasingly we define ourselves via our world view so any attack against our world view hits deep and feels like a personal attack. Very much like many people used to define themselves via their job position and that title was what defined them, loosing that meant they were nobody.
In the same way as we hopefully moved past defining ourselves via a job titles i belief it is time to move past defining ourselves via a world view and decide to be open to discussions. It is time to move past our mental toddler stage and get to a point where we feel comfortable having a discussion that has depth and goes beyond a social media interaction.
I will push this experiment for myself and welcome everyone to join. To me being offended is loosing the opportunity to learn something so i decide to learn instead and stop loosing out day after day.