Echo Chambers: How To Be Open Minded
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Echo Chambers: How To Be Open Minded

Today's world in torn apart with differing points of views, thoughts, and feelings. Are you open to hearing opinions which differ from your own?

Echo Chambers: How To Be Open Minded

Recently, a fire was sparked inside me from something I saw on Facebook. One of my Facebook friends shared an article that reported a bill in Texas trying to be passed. This bill proposed people driving vehicles should not be held liable for injuries caused to protesters. The bill claims the protesters are blocking traffic in a public right-of-way and if a driver is to injure a protester, he/she is excusable if "exercising due care." This term is used in law when a person is conducting themself in a reasonable manner while looking out for the safety of others. Therefore, this bill is proposing that a protesters being hit or ran over by a car can be excused as "reasonable."

Anyone else caught in disbelief a person even proposed this as a bill? Wanna know what is even crazier? That people support something so absurd.

I read this bill and my heart broke. I cannot understand how a person can be so easily excused for causing injury and possibly death to another person. A protester is practicing his freedom to protest and therefore his freedom of speech. Some protests take place on the road to bring attention to the issue being challenged.

What is an Echo Chamber?

But a comment ensues from a friend of the friend which agrees with the bill. Likes and Loves appear on the post. I shake my head in sadness. "Yeah, a driver should have this privilege if they're being pulled from their car and bludgeoned!" Okay.. I can't disagree that if a driver is being attacked they should take action to protect themself. But, there's a gap in the story now. The bill does not say the driver must be acting on terms of protecting themself to be excused to liability of injuring a protester. That would make more sense than what the bill actually proposes. This bill gives a driver the excuse to hit a protester whether the protester is actively attacking the driver, the protester is sitting on the curb to take a drink of water, or the protester is holding up a sign.

Just as the comment had exposed, there are people taking advantage of the protests to harm others, loot, and destroy. This also would reflect with the passing of this bill. Drivers would take advantage of the excuse of liability to injure protesters with a car.

I comment on the post exposing the absence of morals in this bill and how the bill would cause harm to the civil rights of the protesters. Checking the post later, my comment has been deleted and the comment about being pulled from a car by protesters remains. This is an echo chamber.

Challenge The Echo Chamber | Adam Greenwood | TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells

Definition of echo chamber: An environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered.

Echo chambers are common in today's world. They manifest by who you are friends with on social media, which side of town you go to play at the park, what media coverage you tune into, and what conversations you engage in with others. Look around you, do those you interact with think the same as you? Does anyone around you challenge how you think? If your answer is no, you are in an echo chamber.

Being in an echo chamber is dangerous. Echo chambers can be rampant with rumors and lies. It creates closed-minded people who get upset when hearing opposing views. It decreases empathy for others.

An echo chamber is synonymous with confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information that confirms or supports one's prior personal beliefs or values. Reflecting on my opening story, this is where my comment (which defied the article and others liking the post) was deleted while another comment which confirmed the views of the post was kept. Confirmation bias is being selective on things you read/see/share/discuss and ignoring what opposes your views.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. – Aldous Huxley

It is important to ensure you are not caught in an echo chamber and being drawn by confirmation bias. Hearing views which differ from our own encourage us to see all sides of a story. It helps us to understand others--gives us a taste of walking in their shoes. It is important to challenge what you believe so you come to recognize WHY you have those beliefs. It is 100% acceptable to have once had a belief that you reflected on and find no longer relevant. That is growth. You can grow through many ways, for example realizing you were wrong and moving forward with a better perspective. Hearings views different from your own can broaden your perspective to grow intellectually. The world is full of incredibly different people--what they have to say can be worth listening to.

How you can refrain from being in an echo-chamber:

  • be open to other perspectives and new information
  • have current information which supports what you believe
  • check your ego--it is okay to be wrong
  • learn to value truth over needing to be right
  • ask insightful, open-ended questions to those with differing views and listen to what they say
  • consider all viewpoints you can find--not just ones which support your beliefs (example: watch the news from a different channel than your usual)
  • seek and evaluate information before making a decision
  • if you seem well verse in a subject, continue to review new information
Keep your eyes and your ears open because one day you could meet somebody or hear an idea that could change your life forever. – Adam Greenwood
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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