Boring agreement

I recently read an interesting article about “motivated ignorance” that describes our aversion, if not our “disgust” for listening to a political opponent. A study showed that it’s “almost as bad as getting a tooth pulled!” People on the left as well as  on the right avoid hearing from the other side because of the anticipation of cognitive dissonance, and the undermining of their fundamental need for a shared reality with others.

I get it. Recently, this has been my experience too. It’s really comforting to share with people who have similar opinions to mine.

Sometimes, it even feels necessary to my mental health to commiserate with people of my tribe, even if I know that it feeds our national divide.

However, I have also noticed that having conversations about political or politicized subjects with “people like me” can become paradoxically a little bit superficial, even boring (no offense – I’m including myself in the dynamic) as we tend to exchange information that both parties already know. So these conversations merely validate our already held beliefs.

Political conversations are almost becoming “conscious gossiping”.

Well, it’s better than getting a tooth pulled, but It’s not satisfying either. By just reinforcing what we agree on, we can fail to challenge each other, disrupt the status quo, and create more meaning together, and deeper connections.

Between the concepts of violent agreement and boring agreement, there is, I’m sure, the concept of curious disagreement.  This would be a good exploration for a next post.

Meanwhile, practicing giving meaningful feedback to the members of our tribe could also be a way to disrupt boring agreements and the complacency of our righteous mind.

Questions: How does it make you feel to listen to political opponents? How do you step outside of your cultural bubble?


Boring agreement

5 Responses

  1. Good one Carole

    Roland Rivera June 20, 2017 at 4:17 am #
  2. Very perceptive Carole! I am a libertarian and generally enjoy engagement in discussion about politics and society. I find I cannot engage in any discussion in our current political climate because everyone is so angry and determined to make it a personal attack if you do not agree with them. “That’s stupid” or “you think that because you’re an idiot” pretty much ends the conversation and triggers a pinch!

    I love the idea of curious disagreement and intend to implement this in my relationships ASAP!

    Rhonda June 20, 2017 at 8:32 am #
    • Thanks for your perspective Rhonda! I’m sure there are a lot of people tired of the extreme polarization and open to “curious disagreement”. Let’s find them!

      Carole Lévy June 20, 2017 at 4:25 pm #
  3. I hate (purposefully strong word) politics and I barely watch the news, as I find this planet full of hatered, phobias (mentioning only one here: xenophobia) and weird ways of nations electing, if not idiots and/or narcissists, then some ruthless “politicians” whose purpose is first to make sure THEY are given all good, and only second that others are cared for. They are polarizing even more than I ever will or would, even though I know I have a bit of a tendency to “polarized (black & white) thinking” (thanks to Charles, I do recognize it :)).

    Please, ppl in USA, if you cannot get rid of Trump before his term is over, make sure everyone gets to vote! 🙂


    Riia June 20, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

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