The human race has had to adapt countless times in the last 30 years. I expect this isn’t the end of it either. Over the last three decades we’ve seen the rise of the microcomputer, the rise of the microprocessor, and we are currently in the age of ubiquitous computing. When I studied computers at University they theorised that modern technology would soon be all around us and I think it’s safe to say that we’re in the thick of this age now. Most of us can’t go a day without checking the Internet or driving our computerized vehicles. It’s brought a lot of change.
For us we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way that we forge relationships and the way we communicate with one another. When I was a child I had to walk long distances to meet up with some of my friends, and we’d often be found playing on our bikes or having a game of soccer. Communication for us was what it was. We talked to one another face to face and dealt with our problems in a similar fashion. Relationships were forged by being in the presence of one another and getting to know more about each other.
It’s taken a huge swing from that way of life now. I communicate with most of my friends over the internet. I can find out where they are instantly by calling them over their mobile phone and our relationships are more often than not handled by communicating online. On the surface, it’s all really good. We’re in contact more now than we have ever been and we can make friends across the globe. It’s pretty neat.
On the bad side though we’ve seen a dramatic rise of stubbornness and people less open to new information. The internet is a great resource for finding absolutely everything you need to on a subject, but it’s also a great resource for confirming your own biases. And it seems that we are more and more preferring to confirm our biases than to look to be challenged. Facebook is a great example of that. People are essentially creating echo chambers of others agreeing with one another. And when such a thought is challenged from an outsider? You can block or shame them, not even a consideration to question the authenticity of the source or why this person is thinking this way.
People like Donald Trump rise to power.
It sounds stupid saying that he’s America’s new president but a lot of people are unhappy. Seriously unhappy. And when they try to voice their concerns they are slapped down by the echo chambers of different opinions. And even worse that people are becoming more fragile over just hearing a difference of opinion. What was once tolerated as a natural part of life has now become intolerable because many people are aren’t used to being disagreed with.
I had a friend delete me and resign our friendship over a disagreement—15 years strong that was. And gone in a flash because of a minor disagreement. It’s all too easy to do that now. And when you have seriously angry people and no one is listening to them? Well, when people come along promising them that they’ll be listened to again it all takes shape.
We—you and me and the media—tackled that situation all wrong.If we had been open to sitting down with people that were feeling disenfranchised and just listening to them; asking what their fears and needs were instead of demonising them, then the outcome may have been a lot better, who knows? It’s the basic principle of communication and negotiation, isn’t it? You sit at a table and discuss the needs and wants of the other person before you discuss your requirements so you both can meet in the middle. And Politicians don’t do that anymore. Gone are the days when they were like you and I, and they are now comprised of the ‘Political Elite’ who have absolutely no idea how life is for me, or you for that matter. So, it’s only understandable that they won’t be truly listening to us. Not from a perspective of understanding, anyway.
Where does that leave us? Well, we should be united in thought for one thing—because we all strive for the same ideal. You can’t get a community where everyone agrees with each other on everything, but fundamentally our core messages should be the same. We all want to be respected, treated honestly, and listened to. If the last election has taught me anything it’s that people need to be listened to more by their fellow neighbours. It’s not just up to the Politicians and Media to teach us how to think, we should be doing enough of that for ourselves.
And when we realize that our fellow humans may have their ideas skewed, then it’s up to us to educate them and not demonize them. Allow different opinions into your friend feed, thoughts that challenge the very thought of your existence and why you are as a person. If you aren’t continually challenging your own reality and listening to other people that take a different perspective to your worldview then I suggest you start now.
Listening to others, tolerating their opinions, and trying to see it from their perspective is the way to go.
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