How to stay sane in the post-truth society
‘You couldn’t make it up’. How often have I heard that said in recent days! We’ve certainly seen some extraordinary events lately, from the Brexit referendum and the Trump electoral victory to the dreadful events unfolding daily in the Middle East.
More than ever before, people speak about how surprised they are by the turn of events. Things happen which they weren’t expecting and which they thought could never happen. But there is actually an explanation for why people seem so surprised by what’s happened in the world out there, and it’s all to do with how we communicate.
Inside the virtual bubble
Applications like Facebook encourage us to connect with like-minded people, family members and those with whom we share particular passions or interests. We get so used to sharing views and opinions with people who share our outlooks that we begin to think of our views as the prevailing ones in society at large.
But then events prove otherwise, as we saw with the Brexit referendum and US election results where so many ‘expert’ views were confounded. As with the rest of us, pundits are happy in their own bubbles, communicating in a delusional way without getting or giving the complete picture. We only have to look at the huge mistakes made by political pollsters to see how digital communication channels can distort our view of reality in this way.
Much of my work is to do with people’s communication – or, I should say, their miscommunication. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp all contribute to a more fragmented style of communication. It’s rare that we conduct an entire conversation any more – as we did when we sent letters, which we would read and then re-read.
We’ve lost this kind of focus, along with the ability to filter messages and find truth. We browse information and messages like we browse the internet – scanning over the surface and lighting on points here and there. Not being fully present to each other only contributes to problems in relationships.
Blending the old with the new
I’m certainly not suggesting that we turn back time and return to the good old days. As I’ve indicated in some previous posts, the good old days only exist in our minds. Of course we must embrace progress, but in the process of integrating modern communication channels into our lives, we must get better at blending the virtues of the old with the excitement of the new.
Human beings have a strong inbuilt need to share their lives, and, to do that successfully, we need to communicate meaningfully, not just blip out telegrammatic updates. So by all means, let’s send a quick text when we need to, but let’s also take real time for each other – and indulge in the kind of communication that is the water to nurture and grow quality relationships.
Make time to talk to one another, to listen and understand one another’s point of view. Pick up the ‘phone and speak in person instead of texting. Be fully present with friends and loved ones, sit with one another, we get so much information from facial expressions, and remember our eyes really are the window to our soul. Three-dimensional relationships are far more rewarding than one-dimensional.
If you’re affected by this please call me on: 01438 832957