May 30, 2024

Feeding Yourself New Information

Doubt “Evidence of President Elect Donald Trump’s fiasco in Russia”

“Hilary knew about her illegal emails and kept on sending them.”

There. Your click bait for today.

To his credit, President Obama made a very valid point in his final speech from Chicago. We tend to search for our news from the sources that most align with our Knower/Judger prejudices. (He didn’t use that nomenclature, unfortunately.) Nice for us, but this tendency, and the increasing amount of information we are feeding ourselves to affirm our prejudices, is tearing our society apart. How can we overcome this?

My left-leaning friends and associates tune into and trust big media outlets, taking most of their presentation as gospel since it matches their understanding of the situations being reported on.

My more conservative friends follow Breitbart and Fox News simply because their spin on important happenings reinforces their personal truths.

The thing is, nobody learns anything. They just entrench and polarize more stubbornly than ever.

To amplify the polarization, our Internet feeds (Facebook, Twitter, and others) learn to deliver us information that aligns with our K/J judgments. These platforms monitor our searches and interests, the events we attend, and our correspondence. Why? To increase clicks.

They get paid more when they get more clicks. The probability that a Trump fan will click on a site that supports Hillary and vice versa is extremely low. We know our K/J mindset will not be supported there, so why go there?

Many of us absolutely crave the feeling that our K/J is supported and nurtured, sometimes so much that we re-tweet or share links. The entire world is now a prospect for the message… and if my world is either right- or left-leaning, then that audience is right smack in the middle of the source’s bullseye. Bingo.

The result of this capitalist business model is a wedge driven between friends and family that seems to be pretty irreparable these days.

Bridging the Divide

It’s no secret that our citizenry seems more divided than ever in our brief history as a republic. In a recent article, I wrote that the divide seems less about what we look like (racism) than it is about how we think. It’s more about “you don’t believe what I believe” as opposed to “you look different from me.”

As long as I remain squarely in my “comfort zone” philosophically… addicted to only “news” and articles that support my K/J opinions, there’s little hope of patching things up with my friends (soon to be unfriended) and healing the rift that threatens our quality of life.

What can I do?

I can doubt.

Recall that I’ve often championed the benefits of healthy personal doubt in previous articles. Doubting my K/J premises allows me to examine another point of view. But that challenges me. If I let go of my concrete beliefs and examine others’ beliefs, I will have to grow. I might even find out I’m wrong! To avoid these things, I build an impenetrable barrier around my K/J and hunker down in my foxhole, feeding on a constant stream of agreeable information.

Repairing our national divide is going to take some meaningful dialog. If those on the left and those on the right could learn to doubt their truths long enough to witness another point of view, I believe there would be an opportunity to shrink the divide.

About now, my subscribers way over on the left and way over on the right are clicking their “unsubscribe” buttons. Their K/Js have judged that I’ve become a hopeless romantic in the war on divisiveness.

Another Possibility

I’ve written that two opposing K/Js ranting at each other will ultimately result in the death of one if someone doesn’t back down. Kids on the street are killed for their red gym shoes. Are we headed for the same fate? Are we so violently polarized that we will continue to separate further? Or is it time to work on the quality of our lives by exploring common ground? And how can we do that without letting go of some of our K/J judgments, at least long enough to see other points of view?

Just to fool the Internet engines, go read some of the other side’s dribble! I hold little hope of finding any pure, unfiltered, unspun information anymore. It’s all been pretty corrupted. But balancing what you research will balance what you receive. And who knows? You might learn something!





2 thoughts on “Feeding Yourself New Information

  1. Kim,

    Well written and while I am one who falls into watching the streams of news from folks I enjoy hearing from I don’t believe I am closed minded. I agree with you that most of my extreme friends that lean to one side or the other will not listen to one another. I often feel like a mediator. I would have said moderator 10 years ago but that is to soft today. I’m hoping that 10 years from now my friends that are so extreme have learned to trust each other as friends and good citizens regardless of where they receive their news, input from. Once that occurs as individuals together they can hopefully spread the word that cooperation and trust is a better route than to constantly be at odds. And if they can not manage to receive input from one another and explore the facts together meeting our social needs that were once a common motivator will continue to degrade the collective ability to regain the hope of prosperity. All the best, Bill

    1. Bill, I sit here in the middle….experiencing the polarization and I know the answer….just that the one’s WAY out on the right and WAY ou on the left don’t want answers. They already KNOW all they need to KNOW!

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