The Bubble Dichotomy











Every time you encounter a new person, you essentially are trying to share your world view with them, and see if you are a comfortable fit.

Except you don’t share it all in one go - you would literally have to recount your life experiences to that point; all the changes you’ve gone through - and of course the other person is effectively doing exactly the same; sharing their world-view.

It is literally impossible for one individual to share their world-view instantly with every single person they encounter.

If we could, you could therefore plot the entirety of human social relationships as one GIANT Venn diagram.
And by that I mean that you would see your Venn diagram that includes your world-view to date; your views, your opinions, your tastes, your standpoints (political and otherwise), why exactly you are you and not anybody else.

And, intersecting your Venn diagram, would be everyone else’s.

So you could identify the people that share most of your worldview (potential friends/partners perhaps?), and also the people that you share least of your worldview with.
And in perhaps the most extreme cases, the ‘shared’ overlap of your two Venn diagrams would be very very small - and perhaps only the basic human traits of MRS GREN and inevitable death are shared!

To me, this Venn diagram model is a logical representation of how the subjective universe operates.
IE that is how I see human interaction.

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There is a lot of talk about ‘bubbles’ at the moment (and I don’t mean what I predict will be the most decried celebrity death of 2016… probably).

{Also, seriously, google ‘bubble’ in the News tab and see how many times it appears in an article ~ Ed.}

I think I’m now becoming more and more aware of the bubbles I live in - mainly online, but also socially IRL.
And that is why the “seismic” shocks I have experienced - particularly in the political landscape - in the recent few years, are not actually as shocking when you come out of certain bubbles [like the time-pressured bubbles around Brexit and the US election] and remember that there are many many people that see the world differently to you, and they have just as much a right to a say in the operation of the world, as you do.
You most likely won’t agree with what they say, but they have to say it. [NB: Steering away from the Voltaire quote/’he didn’t actually say that’ topic here].

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I think apart from the most left-wing of the media, people are recognising that the reason Trump won - for example - is because of what was said about sorting out taxes, getting people jobs and (related) cutting immigration.

Now that is a twopenny analysis of a much bigger discussion I am not qualified to be part of; again because my worldview - whilst terrified by the thought of Trump accessing the nuclear codes - is otherwise not affected by the election outcome.
Which is not to say I’m not terrified by the rise of fascism; but that is a whole load of other debate for another blog.

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My worldview bubble is in a privileged enough position to allow me to ride out most of these seismic shocks, coming out relatively unscathed.

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But doesn’t that lead to complacency?

Probably.

And here comes the science bit bubble dichotomy…

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In order to feel ‘safe’ (not expressly in a physical sense, more in a mental security sense) I - and I would argue we all - surround myself with broadly like-minded people. If I had to constantly battle with someone every day, I would likely end up having to kill them or myself to make life worth living.

[Did I just literally sum up history? :-| ~Ed.]

So my Social Media bubble is full of people I largely agree with. My friendship group is largely people I agree with.
Some of both bubbles (which obviously also intertwine significantly) include people that I know out of circumstance, rather than explicit choice - e.g. family, school mates, people at work. Which is absolutely no bad thing; those that you share more and more with in terms of a worldview become more than your old friend - they become a current friend - but either way, all are people I am comfortable to experience the world in the company of.

And on one hand, that is a good thing. Humans work to make life as easy as possible for themselves; so not having to battle the people you interact with on a regular basis is a good thing. A very good thing.

And yet, we inhabit these bubbles and normalise everything within them, and - in some combination of the following - fear/hate/despise/challenge/reject/etc. everything that is without our bubbles. (Without, as in, external. An older use of that word, I think?)

Again, in my privileged world, I don’t feel threatened by what lies outside my world-view bubble - but even I got whipped up into fearing/hating what was outside my bubble during the Brexit referendum, and - to a lesser extent - the US election.
And was that “wrong”? I don’t think so - it is perfectly human to emotionally connect with someone or even something - like a powerful idea - and yes if we had the power of hindsight, we might change our approach at the time - but just like the fact we can’t see everybody’s worldview mapped out as a massive Venn diagram - we can’t make objective judgements all the time [in fact, you pretty much can’t full stop, but - again - that’s another more philosophical blog].

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I’ve talked a lot here, but I’m hoping it makes some sense to some people - because those are the people I’d like to get to know better, and I don’t care if that sustains my bubble - in part, that isn’t a bad thing. My number one priority is me.

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But what I strive to get to is a place of acceptance; almost a neutral position when it comes to what is outside my bubble. Yes, those other bubbles exist; but if we could just accept that everyone’s business is their own - and just get on with our own lives; then we don’t need to burst each other’s bubbles too much.

And yet, already typing that sentence, I can see the Venn diagrams I have with some people in my social circle, pulling apart slightly; as even I have to admit that is a pretty defeatist attitude. Or something like that.

All I’ll remind myself is that this is still the method I use to try and work these thoughts out in my head. And they are still - as always, forever - work in progress.

I am not saying we should be silent and let aggressively opposing world-views simply gain traction, and potentially take over key corners of society - I am not saying that - but in order to achieve that, I am not clear what the approach is. I’m really not sure what the answer is. I’m not sure anyone does. I just know it is a process that is beginning in my mind - and I have no doubt there are people I know that are much further ahead in this path than I am, and to those already exploring the future, I applaud you and just say to you “hang on a minute, I’ll be with you shortly.”

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