One of the first major shifts of thinking for me that has happened here is realizing I can have a relationship with a person but have a different relationship with their opinions. I think so much of what we feel about topics and subjects are based on our own experience and personal history. I used to base my sense of someone first on what they think rather than seeing who they are.
One reason for this is we are given the space to feel completely safe sharing anything with the group without fear of being chastised, dismissed or ignored. Each of is given the opportunity to fully express our ideas and interpretations without being interrupted. Another is that we start from a place of mutual respect. Once we leave the discussion group, even if some of us have offered views that may challenge others, we see it’s nothing more than that. Given the time to process, I see that being challenged is very different than feeling threatened.
In an age of constant news feeds of ideas and information, we can no longer assume to be true, we may feel that our opinions are something we need to protect rather than expand. As we feel things we have held to be true being challenged, we instead feel threatened because we are told we just don’t know what is true anymore. This is the result of our digital news culture. If there is something that challenges our core sense of belief, we are told it’s fake news. Though this can be true, it seems that now if our ideas are challenged from even an authentic source, instead we feel threatened and now have to protect our core beliefs at any cost instead of engaging in dialog.
So we surround ourselves with those who feel the same way while designing our constant flow of news and information to only reinforce what we already feel to be true. Even if that information turns out to be completely untrue. Instead of just being challenged to expand our own belief systems, many of us now shut that option down and instead feel scared that our sense of truth is being threatened.
How this has happened was conveyed brilliantly through an article we discussed today titled “The Unbelievable Story of the Plot Against George Soros” by Hannes Grassegger. It’s a fascinating breakdown of how we have we have arrived at a place where even a universal truth is no longer accepted as absolute. Where truth can be manipulated and strategized as long as there is a common enemy to protect ourselves from, making us scared of not just what we read but what we think and feel.