Don’t you get the feeling that everything is pretty extreme nowadays? We’re made to choose sides, in everything. You can’t be part of a group if you don’t agree with everything they do and say, you’re not a ‘real’ supporter if you’re moderate. It seems like social media has made such behaviours worse than ever (but it always existed – I remember pretty vividly my highschool years, when we were pressured by our peers to choose a type of music we liked, and to stick with it. I never could).
It seems to me like we’ve crossed some sort of line, and that disagreeing or simply thinking critically is now often viewed as some sort of treason by the people you associate with. Take politics (ouch, I know). Whatever ‘side’ you identify with, it’s becoming more and more difficult to associate with a political party while remaining critical of some of their positions. It’s become an all-or-nothing type of engagement that has more to do with faith and religion than with a healthy democratic system.
I won’t give precise examples because I have no desire to attract people willing to explain to me why I should always agree to everything my side cheers for, but I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. Disagree with one thing, and you’re suddenly labelled as someone of the other side, or told that you can’t be X if you don’t fully support Y. Which not only makes zero sense (without debate and discussion, we’re not progressing, we’re not getting forward) but is also, in my view, worrying. The last thing we should want for our societies is mindless clones repeating the exact same things because that’s what their chosen group has decided was The TruthTM.
We should want people who have their own minds and search for answers when they’re not sure about something (preferably not on Facebook groups or YouTube channels), people who are critical of their own folks and are not afraid to say when they think they’ve gone too far or are maybe wrong about something. People who are not afraid of reaching out to all kinds of people, not only like-minded folks.
And more than that, when has it become so abbhorent to have a balanced opinion and to find a middle-ground when it’s possible? How are we supposed to function together if we are not able to agree on anything, to make concessions when it’s necessary?
The more we reject and shun people we might not fully agree with, the more we push them – and ourselves – into extremes, until we’re all just shouting past each others, throwing demeaning insults around while patting ourselves on the back for belonging to the ‘right’ side of the argument.
I’ll give one example. Take meds and vaccines. I’ve always been suspicious of the pharmaceutical industry (no one will convince me that big pharma has our best interests at heart). At the same time, I’m thankful to live in an era where my family has access to vaccines, and to effective healthcare when we need it (how good is it not to die from a simple cut that’s got infected, imarite??). But when I watch debates unfold, especially on Internet, it seems like you’re either against all medicine (especially for some reason, vaccines, which are arguably one of the best inventions against pretty terrible illnesses), or fully onboard with it (even when we know that the pharmaceutical industry has more than once effed up and caused harm). You’re either in or out. I find quite reasonable to rely on science-backed medical care when it’s needed, while keeping a critical eye on companies whose first goal is to make money and knowing that prevention (good nutrition, adequate exercise routine, sleep and stress management) is key.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you feeling pressured to ‘choose a side’ in practically everything? Let me know in the comments!
As usual, be well, be kind, be thankful. Until next time!