Seeing the world as it is, not as we have constructed it in our social media feeds

Alright, I just finished reading an article posted by Consumer Reports that explains how to remove/minimize the content you don’t like or are triggered by in your feed on various social media sites. I get these tools are designed to allow one to minimize their stress but don’t these just breed more of the same issues our society is struggling with at the moment.

In our society, we have been using tools to minimize our contact with those different from us in a myriad of ways since the beginning of time. We separate in primarily like communities, where the “haves” predominantly own most of the housing that the “have nots” live in – separating areas into specific parts and keeping the rent just high enough that the occupants can’t save enough to relocate into nicer areas. We are segregated both institutionally via redlining and individually by race and ethnicity. We develop what we see as likeminded communities and then again with religion, subdividing the community even further until we create our own echo chambers. We create suburbs with greater distancing and higher prices. We create school districts to allow for each local district to pay for its own schools thus guaranteeing that the poor kids stay poor (as a rule) through underfunded schools because the tax base in those districts are less. We separate by religious practices seeking to minimize our stress of interacting with those that don’t like us, by purchasing or renting within close proximity to our houses of worship and over time it pushes out those of other faiths.

It’s human nature, right? You can argue that it’s a good part or a bad part of human nature but in reality, it’s all bad for our society. The more we separate, the less we understand others, and the less we understand each other the more we fear each other and the cycle continues. Perhaps instead of customizing our social media feeds into the echo chambers that make us feel good about ourselves, we should remove all the barriers and make an attempt to hear others. See the pain, the triumph, the struggles and the happiness of others.

As a society, we make so many assumptions about how others see the world, what makes them happy, sad, mad, and grateful. Maybe if we stopped assuming and started interacting or just seeing what really moves people we could see that at our core we all want basically the same thing.

A life, where we have enough.

A life, where our kids get a good education, have enough food in their bellies, a safe place to play, shelter from our climate, and neighbors that care.

A life, where we get paid a fair living wage regardless of our trade.

A life, where our tax dollars ensure that when we are sick we can get care.

A life, with clean water and air that won’t kill our kids and loved ones.

A world, that uses its strengths to make life better for everyone, instead of our weaknesses to divide us.

Obviously, there are people out there that really only care about themselves or their families at the exclusion of all others but, I’d be willing to bet that if they saw we really we all want the same thing, even they might be a little more open.

See it’s the echo chambers of our lives that create those situations. It’s the run ins with others and their inability to see everyone as equals that creates the barriers in our mind that we then play out into the geography of our lives. Ultimately causing us to filter out what we see as different and before long we don’t see others as equals but as ”them”. Today, far too often we don’t truly see a person, we see a persona, based upon the filters we have added to over the years. We don’t see the janitor in the store after a long day in the plant, that’s stopping to pick up a loaf of bread and gallon milk to last his family until payday, use an EBT card because he doesn’t make a living wage despite his full-time job. No, we see a guy in dirty clothes that hasn’t taken a bath, living off our tax dollars cause he’s too lazy to work. We don’t see the single mom of three working full-time, going to school at night while raising her kids on a fast food minimum wage job. No, we see an adult running a cash register because they never pulled herself up by the bootstraps and did something with her life and doesn’t care that we have somewhere important to be, as we have a real job. We don’t see protesters, as people standing up for what they believe in or supporting a cause. All to often we hear people say things like, “Why aren’t these protesters at work? Oh they are living off my tax dollars and rioting ’cause they want everything for free.” Or to the homeless guy, “get a job!” We don’t know others peoples stories and admittedly I’m guilty of it as well.

As a young man, I believed that the internet would be a great equalizer. I still believe it can be but not until we make access universal and stop allowing others to control the lens with which we see the world. We have to take control. I am committed to open up or break down my echo chamber piece by piece, and to see the truth of who people are in their heart. Are you?

I believe, deep down we all have faith in something…I strive to have faith in US because we are all the same.

If we can’t see ourselves in others, we can’t see ourselves at all.

May Truth, Light & Love
Guide Our Path

~Chris Wood

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