(all pictures have been taken just outside of Tallinn, at a wonderful country house I've had the pleasure of visiting multiple times over the course of the past few months)
It’s obvious that the algorithms of much of the technology that we use play to our preferences. You can talk about a product that you may want, and in a short time you’ll notice it on your Facebook feed.
This also includes our political views and our biases and opinions on different social issues. It means that if we already have a strong bias towards a certain opinion, your google searches, Facebook posts, and advertisements will all lean in to support that bias.
What this means for us is that we slowly shrink our views only to the ones that we agree with, and in turn, we fall in danger of believing that those are the only possibly logical opinions. Those who fall outside of those, or (have the audacity to) challenge them, are not worthy of having an opinion.
I remember growing up and valuing that I had friends from many different circles. Whether it was the sporty kids, the book-smart kids who did homework during lunch, or church friends from youth group, I was happy to be exposed to many different viewpoints about topics such as race, religion, politics, and spirituality. Travelling has been great at helping me realize that my opinions are based on many privileges that I take for granted.
As I got older, I couldn’t help but ignore the temptation to surround myself with like-minded people. It’s easier to surround yourself with those who won’t challenge your views.
“I don’t need people in my life that will stir things up.”
“If you don’t agree with me that _____ is wrong, we can’t be friends anymore.”
The last thing many of us want is to be challenged on a constant basis about the things we believe to be important and true.
Yet, I’m learning to realize that there is tremendous value to being exposed to many different perspectives and opinions. It seems the world is becoming a very polarized place. There seems to be a severe lack of participation in calm and rational conversations regarding many of the hot topics of today, and an even greater lack of grace and compassion for those who think differently than we do.
The idea that it’s important to listen to and understand the perspectives of others before we judge seems to be a fading value, replaced by a quick and painless block or unfollow of those who see the world differently, while we consume more and more media that supports what we have decided to believe.
It’s a shame because, the truth is, we can all create our own truth and find supporters to support those truths. Coupled with being easily offended by the small context in which we understand what other people are saying or doing, we are bound to widen the gap between each other as we go down this rabbit hole of self affirmation.