These tendencies reach deep into our history. In many cases, echo chambers are nothing to worry about. If you are interested in fashion, you want to join a forum — digital or real — where you can converse with like-minded others.
It would undermine your enjoyment if people kept banging on about architecture, football or fitness. A quick story: I was at a wedding a few years ago and chatting to people I already knew, or people of about the same age. The conversations were enjoyable, but predictable.
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We talked about our kids, schools, commuting, etc. I then noticed an elderly man sitting at the edge of the gathering. I decided to approach him. He turned out to be a wonderful soul. He had lived in my home town in his youth and talked about how it had changed. It was fascinating. Matthew Syed says connecting with new people and trying new activities can help to broaden your mind file image. You will learn more than you ever imagined. The very act of trying new things seems to fertilise our minds, helping us to see familiar things in a new way. Indeed, one of the formative experiences of my adult life was joining Toastmasters.
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This is a network of clubs where people meet to practise their public speaking, which is a useful skill in its own right. But the magical thing about Toastmasters is that it also brings you face-to-face with a diverse set of people you would otherwise be unlikely to meet. I got to know a retired housewife seeking to build her social confidence, an artist who wanted to speak to audiences about her work and a Spanish guy with a wonderful smile and a love of opera.
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After a few weeks at Toastmasters, socialising with the group at the pub was as big an attraction as the club itself. Much of the research on echo chambers revolves around politics, and it is certainly true that engaging with diverse opinions is a sensible thing to do. Research by Keith Stanovich, professor of applied psychology and human development at the University of Toronto, found that people who listen to those with whom they disagree not a quality associated with some politicians , are better at coming up with ideas, evaluating arguments and spotting fake news.
Yet embracing a disparate spread of opinions is about so much more than politics. It is about creativity, about new experiences, about the spice of new friendships. Why not reconnect with that old school friend or work colleague? Why not get in touch with the school gate mum who moved away from the area?
I am not suggesting that diversity is a panacea for work or life, but it can help in many ways, both subtle and profound. Escape your echo chamber. They may not change what you think, but your own views will become more nuanced and rounded. In an experiment carried out in the U. The subjects asked two of these contacts for advice. They were then asked to rate its value compared with reaching out to two more familiar people.
Matthew suggests taking a social media detox and going to the shops instead of online shopping to escape your echo chamber file image. The dormant ties offered advice that was far higher in value. Precisely because they were dormant, these contacts were not operating in the same circles and were hearing about new opportunities and ideas.
Do we try to claim as much value as we can, or do we contribute value? These choices have staggering consequences. Why not have a social media detox and go to the shops instead of buying everything online? No algorithms can track you when you are out on the High Street or, at least, not as intrusively , let alone stalk you with personalised advertising.
And while out there in the real world, with an open mind, you may have a chance chat that lifts your day. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Time to break out of your bubble: Stuck in a rut? It robs us of the space we need to wonder and, perhaps, to do a bit of wandering as we wonder. I posed a question.
Alexa gave us the answer. And that was that. Do you think it would stand on a scale? Can you find him in the tree? I wonder how he can do that and not get a headache.
Yes, easy answers come at a price. Easy answers and the certainty they bring come in a variety of forms and from a variety of sources. Alexa can tell us who the twenty-third President of the United States was. While our devices may not have the answer to these and other important questions, there are those who think they do. Traditional religious institutions, especially but not exclusively the Christian faiths, provide answers that seek to offer certainty and the comfort that that certainty brings. We believed what we were told until something happened that shook our faith, or maybe we simply sought to become explorers on our own terms, seeking answers that suit us.
That journey, one way or another, led you to our doors. We Unitarian Universalists are spiritual wanderers and wonderers. And as my wife Irene has said, playing off the words of J.
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We admit what we do not or cannot know. To seek out sources that speak to us and to build from the ground up a sense of meaning and purpose that will both challenge and sustain us. Who or what is God to you? Is life just a competition, with limited resources to be grabbed for our own good, or does the world offer its abundance to everyone? Is human nature inherently good or inherently evil, or inherently ambivalent?
Are we spiritual beings having a human experience, or the other way around? What happens to our energy, our life-force after we die? Where was it before we were conceived? Unitarian Universalism calls us to be curious.
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Our faith is forged by the fire of our experience. By the sky above us and the earth below us and the world around us that we encounter as we make our way through life. Ours is not a static, once-and-for-all faith, but a dynamic one that shifts over time, based on our engagement with all of life.
Our curiosity pulls us forward fearlessly, calling us to encounter the unknown. Build an understanding of the world and our place in it. Once the annealing process has finished, you can work with the metal more easily and create beautiful jewelry or works of art. You can do more with it than you could before. This is what we are called to do with our selves and, if you wish, our souls, over and over again throughout our lifetime. With each experience, we hope, we become more useful, more malleable, more flexible. Things that we will never know for sure.