|© Stuart Duffin 2021|
So, is it only me, or is it still hard to find carefully reasoned argument or discussion on much of the social media outlets? While it’s good thing that such outlets have empowered people, many now see the alternative media universe on social media as representing them more than the established newsrooms that have long ago gained a respected creditability.
The reason for this seems to be the filter bubbles that personalised (news) feeds create for us, forming places that serve to confirm our already preconceived worldview. There is a higher chance of misinformation or misleading “reports” spreading more quickly. I’ve blogged about this before.
The rise in believing that “alternative facts” (as former President Trump councelor Kellyanne Conway called them) actually exist without comprehensive proof, can make it harder for two sides to engage. Alternative opinions exist of course but a proven verifiable fact isn’t altered just because I don’t believe it.
So here’s an old fashioned term I was reminded of recently. It’s called “critical thinking”. And we can use it to disagree better because disagreeing isn’t so much the problem, it’s how we do it! We can actually agree to disagree. That means we don’t have to aim at “winning” an argument.
First tip I read, and in my online experience it's a vitally important one. Cut the insults and dial down the rhetoric. No-one has ever been insulted into agreement.
Secondly, listen to what the other side is actually saying. Empathy is about taking in what the other person says, even if we disagree. They too have a right to express their opinion.
Third tip. Look for points of conflict then listen with compassion (not passion but compassion, don’t mix them up) and that means showing a willingness to put the other person on a par with ourselves.
With a bit of critical thinking we can at least identify the difference between fact and opinion. An opinion after all is a consideration or perspective to be weighed up against available evidence and not a weapon to be used on our opponents.
Lastly, and this tip is aimed very personally at myself. Do the above!
A bit about the new (kinda topical!) artworks...
"Abolition +/- Escalation" (above image) is my response to the developing legacy of the last US administration led by Donald Trump and culminating in the shocking invasion of the Capitol building and it’s consequences. The central image of the globe with its nails, looking very virus-like, is indicative of a denial of responsibility, a denial of reality and the results of such. The three lower panels contain (left) an image of the DNA double helix, (centre) armed crowds outside the US Capitol and (right) an illustration I made using matches of the effects of social distancing during the pandemic, like a fire break.
"The Golden Age of Malfunction" (above image) is a further comment on what I was just writing about. The central circular image represents the division between old knowledge (the left-hand side) and the new reality of the current or post pandemic world (the right-hand side). At one extremity is a hand with a dove and holding an olive branch while the other hand at the other side is holding an incendiary weapon. Hope in an increasingly polarised world.
"Good Guy/Bad Guy *delete as appropriate" (above image). It's back in the news here in the UK although it never really went away. So here's the updated and finished version of this work. The big debate is wether to get rid of Colonialist statues, street names and the likes, or retain them for use in further understanding the issues involved. Either way we absolutely need to have a way of educating ourselves and our children in facing up to our responsibilities and making sure they don't just repeat our mistakes. Those who forget history are bound to live through it again. History is not there for us to enjoy the nice bits and deny the nasty stuff. It's there for us to learn from and to better ourselves.