28 November 2016

Life in a Bubble

Recent events this year have made me realize how fragmented our society is, and how much we don't know life outside our own inner circle. It seems that everyone of us live in a little bubble, and we rarely venture out of it. And because we don't venture out of it, we fear what is out there, we fear the unknown. And this fear has scary repercussions.

2016 has seen a few shocking political events. You had Brexit, and now you had the upsetting US Election. Here in Europe, you see the rise of populist parties stoking fear against Muslims and against immigrants. It seems like politicians always want to find a scapegoat for real or imagined problems, and urge the populace to blame this scapegoat. And since the populace lives in a bubble and doesn't know the outside, they simply believe.

Look at Donald Trump, who blamed the Muslims. Look at the supporters of Brexit, who blamed the Poles. Look at Rodrigo Duterte, who blamed drugs. And look at Adolf Hitler, who blamed the Jews. And look at the people, who simply believed in them.

I am not saying I am immune to this. Just taking as the recent US Election as an example, I found myself rather affected. Even though I am not a US citizen, my sister is. So I have strong ties to that part of the world, and now I find it slightly scary to be there, given that I am not white. Hence I was rooting for a different outcome. Nevertheless, I realized how much I was in a bubble, only looking at media and news sources that align with my own views, and not knowing anything about what the other sector wants and desires. I have to admit, my views only revolved within a small clique, and I am ignorant as to the reasons why a majority of Americans decided that Trump would be a better leader for them.

Looking at it in a wider perspective, I think this is a wake-up call for all of us, to venture out of our bubbles and explore more. The world out there is not a scary place, unless you believe it is. More Americans should get a passport and travel outside of their borders, outside of their state, outside of their county. This also resonates with other issues, like religion, not just politics. It would be great if religion would stop teaching in absolute terms, and stop claiming that they are the only true way to Salvation. I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness, and I was told that the world was a very bad place, and I was discouraged from making friends who were outside of the church, as they were "worldly" people and would die when Armageddon comes.

And yes, we should travel more. These recent world events somehow has been increasing my desire to visit "the other side" so to speak. Given where I am from, I suppose I tend to associate more with the so-called West. Yet the more I question the stereotype, the more my desire to visit places like Russia and China increases. After all, I have visited Iran and man that was a trip.

So yeah, burst that bubble. And be surprised at what you'll find.


  1. I couldn't agree more with you. We all suffer from tunnel vision at one point or another, but it's really important to 1) go out and see the world (or another city, district, etc.) 2) process information that do NOT comfort your beliefs.

    Especially online, it's just too easy to rely on media that are just an echo chamber to your own beliefs.

    1. Zhu,

      The second thing you said resonates a lot with me. It is extremely important, for everyone, to see views that do not align with one's own. Ignorance is not bliss, after all. And this also presents an opportunity to challenge one's own beliefs. If one's beliefs change based on new evidence, then that is not a bad thing at all.