Is There An Echo in Here?

The easiest temptation on social media is to follow people, blogs, websites, etc. who reinforce what we already believe.

More difficult is to follow those who have near the opposite point of view. The exceptions of when we do, it’s usually to laugh, scoff, or get offended by. We don’t do it to learn, and listen but to argue, sometimes in the hopes of convincing the opposition the rightness of our cause.

Too often, though, the opposition has no more desire to listen and learn than we do. In the end we give up, and return to our little echo chambers filled with people of like mind.

I don’t often read so-called news sites such as Vox, Slate or Salon. I find their news rife with too much bias for my taste.

Sometimes, however, I run into a headline that so intrigues me (and not in a good way), that I have to read it.

This is one such headline:

When I debate or discuss, I make sure I have truth and facts to back me up, otherwise, not only will I fail to convince, but I waste my time and that of my opposition. I don’t argue with emotions, because emotions are not rational or logical. Too often they are baseless, and fleeting. Too often they are based on misunderstanding of a smattering of facts, and can do more harm than good when trying to debate a specific point.

As Ben Shapiro likes to say, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.”

You can understand then, why I found this headline befuddling to say the least. Why would anyone give up facts in favor of emotion to win people to their side? It’s idiocy. And temporary.

Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to read the piece. Too many news websites love to write provocative headlines in order to get people to read it (such as me). Click-bait as it’s called. Often, however, the headlines can also be misleading to the point that the article ends up making the exact opposite point.

As a writer, I found a lot of the opinion piece objectionable such as using emotions as a weapon. It implies that the author doesn’t want to convince, but to manipulate. It read less like a professional article and more like a personal journal entry (kind of like this lovely blog entry). The author isn’t trying to make a specific point so much, but exploring his/her thoughts in order to discover that point.

Still, after weeding through the verbosity, I surmised the author’s overall point was not to give up on facts, per se, but to appeal to a person’s emotions with facts instead of presenting facts alone. It’s a valid point, because in this day and age, regardless of what side people take on an issue, they are so emotionally entrenched in their point of view, facts proving their contentions false won’t deter them.

The entire article can be found here.

It’s worth thinking about, and for me will be one heck of a challenge. I don’t argue emotionally. Only facts matter to me, because they’re immutable. Still, I have to see the other person’s emotional point of view, and try to understand it before I can debate a specific issue.

I have to learn how to speak their emotional language, otherwise communication will be near impossible.

If I hadn’t stepped out of my own self-imposed echo chamber, I wouldn’t have discovered, let alone considered the idea.

2 thoughts on “Is There An Echo in Here?

  1. The problem is, in my opinion, that investigative journalism is dead and all that is reported these days is alleged facts that support the views of the person, group, or organization making the report. Thus, opponents in a dispute in today’s world can not not even agree on the facts, which makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to resolve most disputes. And living in such a world, one that does not hold anyone liable or responsible for reporting false facts, results in a major increase in the reports of false facts, which just divides us even further.

    It looks to me that the prophesies of the Bible are being fulfilled, and it will take God’s direct involvement to get us on the right track. But until then, we, as Christains, need to continue to live as God directs us to, with love & compassion for all.

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    1. I like your last statement: “Until then we, as Christians, need to continue as God directs us to, with love and compassion for all.”

      That’s another problem I see with too many Christians, especially in the US. Much of our action is political in nature. Understandable since we Americans were taught that the government belongs to us, and that we are the government. We want it to reflect our own values. Unfortunately, all that energy is spent at the expense of God’s mandate to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” We have relinquished that responsibility to government action instead of taking care of it ourselves — without the government to help or hinder our efforts.

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