Diana Marin (a blogger) recently wrote quite an interesting post on the subject of “bridging people” that caught my attention which was full of negative presumptions about people.
Let’s review some of her words. She starts off by focusing on the biases people carry by saying;
Many people live their lives jumping from one cognitive bias to another, with a reluctance to delve deeper or look beyond. They see what they want, they perceive things, events, and people around them in a light that reinforces what they already think or fear of the world or hope the world to be like, and often in a one-dimensional way.
Not even the best psychologist in this world can lay a claim to knowing any individual to an extent to label someone things like she did here.
What follows, is more interesting than her opening paragraph;
This can range from something superficial like snap judgements and the famous halo effect -for instance seeing an attractive person and automatically, sometimes unconsciously attributing them other good traits like being good-natured or intelligent (although there is also the reverse halo effect, causing the opposite reaction in others), from the Barnum effect with practices like astrology and certain personality tests, to having confirmation biases such as unsubstantiated interpretations of ambiguous events and situations which fit some pre-existing beliefs or the illusory correlation of behaviours or events.
That’s very true. Actually so true that it sounds more like a lie already. Clearly, here she speaks of all those ambiguities, but still opts to call all sorts of names to poor “people”.
Next, she elaborate her reasons to be so broad in her assault;
People also tend to have selective, biased memories, often more likely to remember emotionally-charged events more vividly and subjectively. Sometimes they have a filter through which all information and their perception of reality goes, which reaffirms some values they hang onto and – often unwisely- attach their sense of self and their interpretation of others to.
Her definition of wisdom can be easily a definition of stupidity for someone else and vice versa. Someone sees cloud as something that is blocking their sun while the other sees their loved one’s face in the cloud. Totally subjective things like that should not give rise to her own biases against the “choices” (not biases) of people.
Next, she identifies “many people” with so many horrible traits that if that was true, today the whole world will be already at fire;
This may seem like an effective and useful self-defence mechanism in many cases, because it means you can always stick to your own little bubble, never having to confront points of view which don’t match your own and which will make you contemplate and potentially doubt the beliefs that you’ve relied on for a long time. However, this approach to life is pretty clearly a double-edged sword. It can often prove to be delusion-inducing, divisive, and toxic as it prevents genuine connection among people and can even turn everything into a -sometimes subtle and insidious- war of ideas, with every person being uncompromising and unwilling to let their guard down and be open or receptive. This war is not always transparent or even vocalised, it can be silent, low-key, as well as appearing disguised as something else-i.e. power trips – because of feelings of repression and rejection or fear of the unpredictable and the unknown.
In this negative bubble, its only she who created those non-existent people. Otherwise, I have found majority of the people being positively firm and clear with their own ideas of reality and life. They find something or someone negative, they voice their opinion and/or simply appear indifferent for a reason. That’s actually wise and brave, not the cowardice that she speaks of.
To that bubble that she created herself, she suggests a solution;
What would be the solution then? To judge appearances and only hang out with those who never challenge any of your beliefs? This scenario is quite problematic and actually impossible unless you only seek superficial connections, you’re very detached from others, maybe meeting very rarely- because otherwise, you will most likely never be on the same page with anyone else entirely. Whether that’s a partner, friend, acquaintance, family member, there will always be a situation in which your views on some subject diverge. Because everyone has had unique experiences which shaped them differently.
Why does one need to challenge anyone in the first place? She sounds so much on the war footing, making it sound so trivial. What if she starts respecting people’s choices, their reasons, logics and their decisions instead of having such negative goggles on her eyes. How about accepting the other however he/she is and minding your own freaking business instead of having to change someone?
Obviously people being at peace seems to have ignited her to fear the worst as she goes on saying;
If you’re lucky, one of you will be more diplomatic about it and drop their view to prevent reaching a point where you’ll be pulling each other’s hair out. But is it such a good thing? Always relinquishing one’s standpoint in order to stay away from any semblance of confrontation is not a long-term, or constructive tactic, because it doesn’t stimulate change or self-development and doesn’t really benefit anyone in the long run. It normally only provides moments of relief and passing through life as lightly as possible- although even that depends on what the voice of your ego says.
The above paragraph shows her wanting to desperately change people, especially in the way she thinks is right. Majority of us have eyes, ears and a thinking brain. And its totally upon us how we tackle any given situation or individual(s). There are no hard and fast rules written by no fool out there.
Hang on. She is about to drop a “wise” bomb i.e. a solution upon all of us (the messed up “people”);
I anticipate what one might think: maybe that’s all you want sometimes, moments of relief and bliss. Choosing your battles seems like sensible advice, after all, doesn’t it? Indeed, and in the end you will inevitably also weigh how much you value this person’s opinion and judgement, as well as how much you value your own opinion, how important it is to you; if you decide it’s a matter of significance and, simultaneously, that it’s a person whose opinion matters to you, and you can’t just brush things off, then you need to be aware of how you tackle the subject, don’t try to make it seem like you’re imposing your perception of reality on someone else. People might be less inclined or willing to digest and properly, openly process information communicated with an ostentatious know-it-all or holier-than-thou attitude. Even though you may find it difficult to act in an emotionally intelligent way if it’s a subject you feel strongly about like an ingrained belief, and especially if an alternative view may bring insecurities, it’s not impossible.
“Choose your battle”. Hmm… Interesting. What if the battle has chosen you without giving you any choice except to fight? There is no war out there that the two willingly fight. For example, I have been reading and hearing such things which she describes since ages but have actually found people to be awesome in their own unique and different way vis-a-vis her negative view of them.
The up-coming last paragraph of her post is the reason I actually picked up my pen to review this. She points to something very important;
The key is to build bridges. To become the best versions of our selves, let’s be aware of our cognitive biases and not trust them blindly, let’s be open-minded and non-judgemental and non-dismissive towards other perceptions of reality. Let’s do this whilst still being authentic and true to ourselves and to our own core system of values, but also true to the people around us. Let’s choose understanding first and foremost, which ultimately leads to happiness anyway, and let’s defy the narcissistic tendency of our contemporary society by practising empathy and fulfilling self-interests simultaneously, rather than treating them as mutually exclusive.
I am totally against any sort of bridges amongst people. I am 100% FOR a unique, colorful and a different individual than those negative labels (or types) she places upon them.
Sooner she accepts and embraces everyone around her as positive “people”, easier it will become for her to write the next post about how awesome they are.
She started her post by judging them and then ended up advocating for the self-doubt amongst them. Still, it was an interesting read and even more exciting to review as well.
Diana Marin’s Response on July 4, 2019
(Which she deleted afterwards)
Wow, you clearly chose not to focus on or simply misinterpreted the aim and positive intent of my words. Your post is pretty presumptuous, which is a bit hypocritical. Let’s try some self-awareness, and not do the things we condemn others for supposedly doing.
“The above paragraph shows her wanting to desperately change people, especially in the way she thinks is right. Majority of us have eyes, ears and a thinking brain. And its totally upon us how we tackle any given situation or individual(s). ”
No, it doesn’t. As for the last statement, that is exactly what I pointed out in the next paragraph.
“I am totally against any sort of bridges amongst people.”
I think you misunderstand the concept, otherwise you couldn’t reasonably be against it whilst also claiming to embrace everyone around you as “positive”.
Which, by the way, is objectively not true: Not everyone around you is positive all the time, as you claim. Some people more than others, yes. Your absolute statement on the positive nature of everyone blatantly erases and is ignorant of things confronted by many. Women in the workplace, toxic masculinity, race discriminations, just to name a few, these are things that still happen. Look at the #MeToo feminist movement affecting everyone in Hollywood and on Earth. Also, subtler things, for instance, how for some reason, my piece clearly also struck a chord with you since you’ve just decided to write an entirely confrontational blog post solely referring and responding to mine. It’s either that or attention-seeking. The voice of your post is not positive. You also don’t see me as a “positive person”, obviously, judging by your unfounded claims. So you contradict yourself. Not everyone around you is positive 24/7 and you low-key acknowledge that but decide to claim otherwise.
“I have actually found people to be awesome in their own unique and different way vis-a-vis her negative view of them.” & “Sooner she accepts and embraces everyone around her as positive “people”, easier it will become for her to write the next post about how awesome they are.”
Again, you are making assumptions and resorting to a straw man. I never denied that people can be awesome, and nothing I said contradicted that. I am actually quite ‘positive’ and pleasant by default whenever I meet and interact with people- contrary to your reductive vision based on a sole article which was focused on cognitive biases rather than on making the author (me) appear in a positive light and rather than describing my personality. I’ve decided to get rid of my self-consciousness in writing this article in order to place the focus on a particular type of behaviour that is not progressive for reasons I clearly identified in my post. The focus was never on myself, hence why I did not feel the need to mention or defend my personality for random unexpected critics. In fact, you totally decided to ignore the positive concluding message from my last paragraph, about being our best selves and open-minded and non-judgemental and non-dismissive towards other perceptions of reality. You’ve decided to dissect this piece of writing to attribute a negative tone to parts of it and do exactly what I advised against, instead of seeing the positive vision and the faith behind it. Yes, I believe many people can change for the better, I have an optimistic view that they can do so, and that some of them need to do so and become aware of that.
My next people-related blog post was actually going to be about the awesome people in my life. Because, as I’m sure you’re aware beyond your utopian world claims, there are people of all sorts out there. Some of which you will find awesome, some not so much. Or not all the time, because people are multi-dimensional. And that’s okay, you’re human, not a robot, embrace your humanity.
I’ve edited my reply a couple of times, take into consideration the final version.