Summer is here and we know you have plans – fishing, sunbathing, a summer read or two? Whatever you’re up to, we say you add just one more to-do: “Save the planet by escaping the echo chamber.” Doable, right?
We’re calling it our summer “Swim Against the Tribe” and we’ve made a summer tradition of it. Below you’ll find suggested reading material to learn more about the problem and the solution as well as suggestions about how one might dip your toe into the water of understanding different political perspectives. Don’t worry, we won’t throw you into the deep end without floaties on. And be sure to sign up now to meet Amanda Ripley, the author of this summer’s featured read, on August 26th.
This page will offer up a growing compendium of resources to break out of our increasingly isolated echo chambers, bit by bit. It took a lot of time for us to get isolated into feuding information silos, it will take awhile to get out.
We challenge you to think of balancing what Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam calls “bonding” and “bridging.” Sure, spend lots of time with people you have lots in common with – that includes diving into the information sources you currently trust. But make a little “bridging” a part of your life habit as well – every once in awhile stretch toward those you disagree with. A politician you dislike just says something that confirms your dislike? Seek out the full text of the comments and the context around them. Give them the benefit of the doubt you’d give someone on your side of the aisle. Ask yourself what the consequences are if your tribe is wrong factually on even a small part of this subject? Is there something small insight you might gain?
Finally as you’re “swimming,” notice the vast differences in the way different media sources understand the world. Reality is big and humans (all humans, that means you) understand it too often through the muddied lens of confirmation bias. If there has ever been cause to understand and forgive, as we gently correct, it’s now.
Have a great read you’d recommend we add to our list? Email us your suggestions.