Wheaton's Law Goes A Long Way

We have a cultural sickness. Lots of people are going to tell you it's something about guns, too many too few, or some other permutation. Other people will tell you that we're not praying enough, or that too many people are waiting for the invisible sky dad to solve their problems. It's video games, movies, and couples sleeping the same bed on television.

There are a lot of fingers to point.

We all live in little bubbles getting bits of information that confirm our bias, aside from the relatives we disagree with.

(Those guys, huh?)

The real sickness is a mass delusion. Everyone is talking to an imaginary version of the opposition. All liberals are wine sipping elitists who want to take your guns and ban your religion. All conservatives want women in the kitchen and brown people in chains. And thanks to social media, it's pretty easy to dig up the worst examples of these stereotypes. We can yell at them, jump up and down, and generally feel satisfied that we spoke truth to power.

Meanwhile, both parties pretend that they're in opposition. The media turns everything into a gruesome spectacle, and people are getting scared. But we're doing it to ourselves.

There's the easy stuff. Don't sit glued to information you already agree with, challenge your own assumptions. Be skeptical about everything, especially easy conclusions. There's probably a lot more nuance to things than you realize. Turn off the endless coverage of terrible things and watch some stupid cat videos. Skip Facebook and Twitter on days where you know stupid people are arguing about things they don't understand.

The simplest step is just to be less of a dick. Don't assume you know what other people already think.

Mike M

Mike M

I have written various kind of reviews for years. I currently write for Make Use Of. I used to write for Digital Entertainment News, Macgasm, and the Examiner. My day job is as an IT monkey. Follow me on Twitter.