Wednesday, March 11, 2015
It apparently started with a Facebook comment.
Well, that's not entirely true. It started when Mark Zuckerburg began Facebook, but we're going to skip ahead to this morning when the actual important part of our story takes place.
One of my high school friends posted something on Facebook. Another friend posted a comment that disagreed with the sentiment of the original poster. One thing led to another and Friend A blocked and unfriended Friend B.
Both of them then proceed to post their interpretations of what happened and explained their point of view on the matter. I, meanwhile I, being the person I am, did my best not to make snarky comments to both of them because as fun as it would have been, it probably wouldn't have been appreciated at the time the way you and I would have taken it.
But here are the larger points.
1. I'm not a very good writer because if I was, I wouldn't have to explicitly say what the larger points are.
2. The idea of closing off your worldview to people you disagree with, even strongly disagree with, seems to lead to a less fulfilling life. I'm not suggesting you have to surround yourself with racists (unless you're wanting to join an Oklahoma University frat - ok, that was a cheap shot, but I had to be snarky somewhere, right?). In fact, you're probably better off not associating with racists on a regular basis. But refusing to even listen to someone else's point of view makes it highly unlikely they would then be receptive to hearing your point of view. If you want a racist to stop being racist, cutting them off so they only interact with other racist people seems like a bad long term plan. If you only surround yourself with like-minded people, don't be shocked when someone outside your circle thinks differently than you.
If you want someone to listen to and consider your perspective on things, be it advanced stats in baseball or the role of the federal government to the best ice cream toppings, you have to be willing to have your mind changed as well. It's a risk. It means your world view that you've spent years with and developing could be wrong. It takes a lot of psychological energy and effort to change how you see the world. But if you refuse to be open to that, don't be shocked to find out other people don't want to listen to you.
3. If you're not willing to have a discussion about a topic, probably don't post it on social media. As its name implies, social media has a social aspect to it. When this post gets posted on social media and someone disagrees with me, I'll be happy to talk about it (and equally happy someone actually read it.) In fact, it's possible we could not come to an agreement about things. But so long as you're respectful, I'm ok agreeing to disagree. It won't be the first time and it hopefully won't be the last. But posting something and then refusing to engage with people who have differing viewpoints means you're looking for an echo chamber more than you are looking for social media.
4. This is more a personal opinion after reading the comments under both posts - NEVER READ THE COMMENTS - but joking about driving over state lines to commit violent acts against someone you disagree with seems in poor taste.