I was thinking about writing a post about Alexa, the voice inside of my Amazon Echo. But I banished her from my home about six months ago because I thought she was eavesdropping on my wife and me. So I unplugged my Echo and put in on a shelf inside a storage cabinet in my garage. Besides, I still have Siri, the voice inside my iPhone, to eavesdrop. I did ask Siri what she thinks of Alexa. Siri’s magnanimous response was, “I offer no resistance to helpful assistance.”
So instead of writing about my Amazon Echo for this JusJoJan post, I’m writing about the echo chamber we all seem to inhabit these days.
People love the idea of having their feelings affirmed and are drawn to others, whether in the media, on the internet, or in their close interpersonal circles, who have those same feelings.
An echo chamber creates an environment in which individuals or groups encounter only those beliefs, perspectives, or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered or are dismissed.
I admit that I reside in an echo chamber of my own making. I prefer to get my TV news from MSNBC rather than Fox News. My online news comes from sources like the Washington Post and the New York Times rather than from Breitbart.com or The Drudge Report. From the Daily Beast rather than from the Daily Caller.
I believe as being truthful and reliable the things I read, see, and hear from the sources I prefer, and I dismiss as propaganda and fake news that which I read, see, and hear from the other sources.
I get really aggravated by anyone who gives Trump a pass, so I generally avoid discussing politics or current events with such people, whether in real life or online. And yes, that includes some members of my extended family.
Things have become so fractured when it comes to socio-political ideologies, that life seems to be a zero-sum game these days. If you win, I lose. You’re either with me or you’re against me. And if you’re not with me, I don’t want to deal with you, because I’m right and you’re wrong.
I used to think of myself as someone who was willing to consider different perspectives and who would fairly evaluate all of the information available with an open mind. But I’m not. At least not anymore.
It’s really dysfunctional, isn’t it?
Image credit: Christofe Vorlet.