Watching and listening to the Sunday news reminded me of the dangers of living in echo chambers. We tend to get lost in one political/religious ideology and forget that there are at least as many people who do not agree with our point of view. This happens more often than not by surrounding ourselves with like-minded friends or acquaintances and only reading or watching programs that support our point of view. It becomes evident during elections when the phrase,” so and so must win because I don’t know anyone voting for the other person”, and then so and so loses. That’s what we call an indicator in the intelligence business. You are in an echo chamber.
I have cultivated many friendships whose viewpoints are diametrically opposed from my own. Some of my closest and dearest friends fall in this category. They keep me grounded and often help me understand the logic (as they see it) behind some of the news stories or policies from their side of the thought process. Remember the best way to understand a person’s point of view is simply asking them why or how they came to a conclusion on an issue. And as much as it can ruin my day, I also try to read and watch all news sources and then attempt to find the golden mean between the screeching coming from both the left and right.
Keep in mind that diversity among your friends should not just be race or ethnicity based – but should be political/ideological as well. As America becomes more polarized due to the echo chamber syndrome, it is vitally important to fight the syndrome by getting out of the chamber and among free thinkers. My advice is that when you find yourself agreeing with everyone in the room – you are in the wrong room.
“Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth.”
― Theodore Roosevelt, The Man in The Arena: Speeches and Essays by Theodore Roosevelt