Lately, the occurrence of disruptive news seems rather frequent. With “disruptive” I mean news that make you stop, wonder and reevaluate something, as opposed to “ah, interesting news. Hm, maybe not so interesting after all, what’s next..?”
Here is my list of events that I found to be disruptive. There were floods in Brisbane, right where I used to live. Then there was another earthquake in Christchurch, this time destructive. My friends who live there where unharmed, fortunately. Still ongoing is the Arabic political upheaval, which is just amazing for anyone interested in human rights, governance, democracy and the origins and ongoing development of our society. Last but not least there was the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the ongoing problems at the Fukushima nuclear reactor. The news of the Jerusalem bombing seem rather inconsequential and non-disruptive in comparison.
For me, one good way to cope or make sense out of these happenings is discussing them with other people and reconsidering them from different perspectives. Thus, many of those events sparked both shallow and deep discussions with colleagues and friends. On the look out for helpful or insightful perspectives in the media, on twitter and on facebook, I noticed a distinct lack of multiple-perspective points of view. Opinions are stated and not re-evaluated. Discussions are not discussions, they are usually just a disconnected collection of opinions.
So, I have been wondering about the cause. Would a differentiated/sophisticated discussion be possible in person, just not in the online setting? Or are too many people just incapable of varying their point-of-view to understand the real complexity of certain situations?
Unfortunately, I believe the latter is the case. Probably due to the fact that looking at something from one perspective and basing an opinion on unquestioned previous assumptions leads to simple, satisfying answers. On the other hand, taking into account different perspectives and taking assumptions for what they are will often lead to no clear answer, only the understanding that the situation is complex and cannot be fully evaluated right now. Most people are content, satisfied with the simple answer and have no interest in exerting any energy in making life more complex than it seems to need to be.
Is this good, or bad? Neither, I would say, it is simply a personal choice. Would this world be a better place of people were less simplistic? Possible, but not guaranteed. However, my conviction is that it would be a worse place if there was no one to point out the complex issues and thereby mediate between all the opposing simplistic points of views.
For this reason I have been and will continue to try, whenever possible, to point out to others the complexity and different perspectives that I see and I welcome others to point me to points of views I have not seen or considered. And I will not back down from a discussion until each point of view has been considered, regardless of whether it can lead me to admitting that I am wrong. I find half-truths and half-answers just not satisfying at all.
Please comment below to let me know your point of view on this issue, and join me in making our world more considerate.