We’re seeing and experiencing the repercussions of what happens when you seed distrust of science and true expertise. When we’ve labeled any news that presents unflattering views or facts as fake. When we ignore all nuance, instead pushing people towards the extremes on viewpoints. When we create an us vs. them mentality; a battle for superiority instead of a recognition that we’re all playing on the same team, with the same goal.
And it was done all in the name of clicks, views, and ‘winning’ political contests.
Common sense doesn’t get retweets. Going through a full peer-review process doesn’t translate to instant views. Embracing nuance doesn’t sell well on TV or Facebook or Twitter.
We’ve somehow been convinced that it’s okay to demonize those who hold opposing views. We’ve convinced ourselves that our individual opinions—because our feelings behind them are strong—hold the same weight as those who’ve quietly studied the problem for decades. We’ve supplemented reflection and thought with regurgitating whatever our favorite TV personality, radio host, or internet celebrity spews out. And we actually believe these talking points are our own. We get outraged at the inconsequential and gloss over the actual, major issues.
We spend most of our time sending signals, indicating which ‘team’ we are on. We turn the smallest of decisions into ideological battlegrounds.
We can’t communicate. We’ve forgotten what empathy is. All that matters is that our side wins, our shows get ratings, we feel validated with a few clicks of the thumbs up icon. We’ve shifted what we value from the secure—people and relationships—to the fragile; the ratings and false validation.
America is becoming a fractured mess where everyone lives in a false reality.
The rest of the globe is staring at America wondering what in the world is going on. We’re the misbehaving child throwing a temper tantrum in the restaurant, with every patron judging us. We’re the former child prodigy who took a turn towards alcohol and drugs but is too stubborn, too oblivious, too stuck in his former glory, to realize he has a problem.
All hope isn’t lost. Our foundation and roots are deep. All of us, as individuals, have enormous potential. But we need to step back, ask what we want of society, and alter our path. We need to engage in our communities in deeper and more meaningful ways. As a society, we’re in desperate need of one big family therapy session.
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