Do You Live In An Echo Chamber? (EP.112)

Political Echo Chamber

Summary

An echo chamber is a space where all the voices sound like all the other voices. Do you live in a political echo chamber? Do all the voices you hear, family and friends, neighbors, co-workers, news media, etc., say (preach?) basically the same thing? Do most of your conversations end with head nodding agreement and wonderment–or worse–at how anyone could think anything substantially different?

If any of that is true, be aware that equally intelligent, equally good-hearted people, people who have also thought things through, just may have opinions 180 degrees apart from yours. With the same head nodding and wonderment in their opposite echo chambers.   

The solution is not to somehow drown out or belittle the other echo chambers, the different points of view. The solution is for everyone to open up to opinions that are all over the map. Change up your news sources, seek out those who will disagree with you. Challenge–at a core level–your own thinking. Always. The diversity that counts most in life is diversity of thought. And that type of diversity is getting negative mention, if any mention at all.

For the next 10 minutes, we will talk about what this means to us as individuals, and to the future of our republic.

Transcript

An echo chamber is a space where all the voices sound like all the other voices. Do you live in a political echo chamber? Do all the voices you hear, family and friends, neighbors, co-workers, news media, etc., say (preach?) basically the same thing? Do most of your conversations end with head nodding agreement and wonderment–or worse–at how anyone could think anything substantially different?

If any of that is true, be aware that equally intelligent, equally good-hearted people, people who have also thought things through, just may have opinions 180 degrees apart from yours. With the same head nodding and wonderment in their echo chambers.   

The solution is not to somehow drown out or belittle the other echo chambers, the different points of view. The solution is for everyone to open up to opinions that are all over the map. Change up your news sources, seek out those who will disagree with you. Challenge–at a core level–your own thinking. Always. The diversity that counts most in life is diversity of thought. And that type of diversity is getting negative mention, if any mention at all.

For the next 10 minutes, we will talk about what this means to us as individuals, and to the future of our republic.

The greatest chance of being in an echo chamber comes from living in one-party geographies.

Is it an accident that states like California and New York are predominantly progressive, and states like Texas and Oklahoma are not? Take a look at this electoral map. With four exceptions, all of the states in the contiguous 48 that voted one way or the other are in connected blocks. Of those four, Colorado and New Mexico share a border, and the other two, Minnesota and Illinois, very nearly connected.

Question: Did everyone of a like mind move to the same places, or is something else going on?

Answer: Something else. In the absence of differing opinions from a variety of sources, people will rely on the opinions of family and friends, co-workers and their favorite news sources and social media. Outside of family, all the sources will be selected more for comfort and absence of frustration than political reasoning, intellectual probity and diversity of thought. Not surprisingly, everyone will pretty much share the same opinions. Similar opinions from several sources reinforce each other and can easily be seen as a valid consensus. Caution: this is a false consensus, based on a clearly biased group of inputs.

Today’s Key Point: Living in an echo chamber is far more damaging than just having limited inputs and insights and a narrow outlook; it is dangerous. The danger comes from believing–actually believing–that those who think differently are somehow inferior; that they are less well informed, or cannot think things through as well, or have the wrong motivations–motivations that are somehow less worthy than yours. Remember, the people who live in different-thinking echo chambers think the same of you.

Echo chamber thinking leads to comments like “Libtard” and “Trumpist.” Echo chamber thinking tends to be black and white, with any shades of grey seen as weakness or selling out. Echo chambers are the leading cause of division and hate. Yes, echo chambers always cause division; they do not always cause hate. But you cannot have hate without echo chambers. Echo chambers lead people to be resentfully quiet at work if their politics are different from the company’s norms and requirements. Yes, requirements; in more than one workplace the “wrong” politics is at least a career cul-de-sac. Perhaps even a career ender.

The unexamined life is not worth living.” -Socrates. Socrates believed that philosophy – the love of wisdom – was the most important pursuit–above all else. He exemplifies at least as much as anyone else in history the pursuit of wisdom through questioning and logical argument–by examining and by thinking. His examination of life in this way spilled out into the lives of others, such that they began their own examination of life. He knew they would all die one day, saying that a life without deep questioning and logical argument–an “unexamined life”–was not worth living.

“The unexamined political opinion is not worth having–or sharing.” – Will Luden. Let’s use the same standards for examining our politics before sharing them as Socrates is recommending for living life; the pursuit of wisdom through deep questioning and logical argument. And there is clearly little purpose in questioning and arguing only with those who we know already think and know what we already think and know. Head nodding agreement may be comforting–but it provides little else.

The core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.

If we apply those two core principles, personal responsibility and brother’s keepers, simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.

The Founders, Revolution 1.0, were declared traitors by the British Crown, and their lives were forfeit if caught. We risk very little by stepping up and participating in Revolution 2.0™. In fact, we risk our futures if we don’t. I am inviting you, recruiting you, to join Revolution 2.0™ today. Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Practice personal responsibility and be your brother’s keeper.

Let’s continue to build on the revolutionary vision that we inherited. Read the blog, listen to the podcast, subscribe, recruit, act. Here’s what I mean by “acting.”

  • Read the blogs and/or listen to the podcasts.
  • Comment in the blogs. Let others know that you are thinking.
  • Subscribe and recommend that others subscribe as well.
  • Attach links from blogs into your social media feeds. Share your thoughts about the link.
  • From time-to-time, attach links to blogs in emails that mention related subjects. Or just send the links to family and friends.

Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and going forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.

Join me. Join the others. Think about what we are talking about and share these thoughts and principles with others. Subscribe, encourage others to subscribe. Act. Let’s grow this together.

And visit the store. Fun stuff, including hats, mugs and t-shirts. Recommend other items that you’d like to see.

Links and References

Is Geography Destiny?

The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

Contact

As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the blog with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.

Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.

Know your stuff, then act on it. Knowing your stuff without acting is empty; acting without knowing is dangerous.

Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

Follow Me

Will Luden

I am your host, Will Luden, former long-time high-tech CEO and Board Chair. I had no idea when I started this podcast that it would become the highest calling of my professional career. Lincoln famously hoped that a government, “…of the people, by the people and for the people…”, would not perish from this earth. My hope, the reason for Revolution 2.0 ”A Booster Shot”, is that a government based on common goals, achieved by applying non agenda-based reasoning to core facts, will allow us to continue to build on our mutual inheritance of a legacy of dedication to seemingly impossible ideals, a legacy that also includes a history of achieving them.
Will Luden
Follow Me
Facebook
Google+
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to Revolution 2.0

* indicates required

Recent Posts

Scroll to top
X
Skip to content