What you get when you mix echo chambers (hanging out only with people sharing similar opinions) with cancel culture (dismissing people for different opinions)?
Here’s what happens.
The more time you spend in an echo chamber, the more sensitive you become to different opinions. It’s very simple: because your opinions get reinforced more often, you tend to believe them more. So you have less of a surface for understanding and integrating different approaches. That’s why you chose an echo chamber, in the first place, to get confirmations. So the more you get your own opinions reinforced, the more you reject even the smallest deviations.
And here is where it gets interesting: what do you do when you’re in an echo chamber, but you still get somehow different opinions than yours? Cancel culture for the win! Reject those who hold even nuanced opinions.
It’s like the confirmation bubble grows bigger and bigger, pushing away not only opposing views, but even similar, but nuanced opinions. It’s so easy to hit the “block” button, right? As time goes by, your echo chamber will become more and more lonely. The lonelier it gets, the better you feel.
But – there is a very important but – you will still function under the impression that the “world” is validating you. You limited the world to the boundaries of your chamber, so there is no outside “world” beyond it. That’s your reality now.
The weird offspring of echo chambers and cancel culture is delusion.
Delusion that you are interacting with the outside world, when you’re just talking (mostly) to yourself, delusion that you’re doing “the right thing” (by steering away from the “pagans”), delusion that the world is actually obeying your moods and whims (because you have the power to control who stays in or leaves from the echo chamber).
Of course, it’s quite the opposite.
You’re not interacting with the outside world, you’re not doing the “right” thing (you’re just being dismissive) and the world will never, ever change because you choose to silence it. It will just keep on keeping on.
Facing different opinions, different behaviors, witnessing different choices is a fundamental part of a healthy life. It’s uncomfortable. It’s annoying. It may trigger anger or frustration. Well, deal with it. You continue to function normally by dealing with your anger and your frustration, not by canceling the source of it.
Of course we need tribes, or people with similar values. They are important.
But people holding different opinions are just as important.
Progress is the offset between the boundaries of our territory, and of the endless space that’s beyond that, something that we simply cannot experience without getting out, without stepping out of our comfort zone.