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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Why do we hear only what we want to hear?

In our heavily mediated world, with sound bites, slogans, small groups able to build support and communicate using everything from cell phones to Internet, sociologist have identified the formation of  "communities" where once they could not exist. No matter what your view or your ideology, you can find others who believe with you on a world wide scale.

The more you invest in communicating and being a part of this group defined by "special interests", the greater the feeling that these beliefs and perceptions are far more universal then they are. You begin to view the world through a prism that tells you that you are correct, right, and that "everyone" agrees with you.

As that develops, in social groups, a wall develops around the group and the individual, not unlike the walls that were built around Medieval cities or the fences we build around our homes, schools and communities. The need develops to keep out those who might not agree or any threat to the group.

So, why do we hear only what we want to hear?

Because in an age of mass communication we are bombarded with messages and our natural reaction is to erect walls, and allow only what or who we wish to have come through the gateway. We have no choice, but in doing so we close ourselves to others and the universe becomes "us" vs. "them", or "right" vs. "wrong" without any room for compromise or even a willingness to let others into our sphere, unless they are converted to whatever we believe or say.

So we are, in an age of far greater access to information than ever before in history, drifting toward a "dark age" of walls and defensive barriers.

One theory is that the volume and access of information is making these walls possible, and reinforcing them with steel and barnacles.

We can now read only what we want to read, see only what we want to see, hear only what we want to hear.

Is there a parallel to declining verbal literacy? To declines in education? To rapid shifts in politics and a lack of willingness to work with opposing views?

Do you think we listen to all views?

If you do what do you do to open the windows and doors?

What gets in the way in your life? In the world around you?

This topic is very current in communication, sociology, psychology, political science and all forms of liberal arts social studies, because the trends and evolution will impact our future.

2 comments:

Ryan said...

Gains in life are not suppose to come easy. You need to be wise, open minded, and hard working. Don't just listen to the first thing you feel is persuasive. Do your homework and create your own theories. Don't let your worldviews get in your way either as they can be abrasive to your final decisions. Like I said before be open minded as it creates good listening skills and allows you to make decisions that are good in the mean time and the long run.

Anonymous said...

I think I agree that we build up walls during the last presidential election I deactivated my facebook page and wanted to delete and not be friends with people on my facebook anymore because of their political belief. I do not recall ever getting so upset or emotional if someone did not agree with my beliefs until now.I think I have a huge wall and do not want to hear others opinions.

Kim A (UOP) Hum/186