Know What You’re Talking About

We live in a very different world than just 100 years ago. We don’t realize it, because we adjusted to it, but if our grand-grand-grand-parents will land, by some time-travel miracle, next to us in a subway station, while we’re on a video call with someone across the ocean, talking about quantum physics, they will most likely have a mental breakdown. And I’m not saying this in a derogatory way, on the contrary. I think their effort to adjust to such a dramatic change in their environment will be simply too much, from a biological point of view, and their system will be forced to shutdown first.

One of the ways in which this world is different is the amount of information. We are surrounded by an ever changing, almost endless cloud of information birthing even more information, every second. Things that we thought we know just a decade ago, are not the same anymore. Definitions change, new topics appear, language evolves. And all is happening way faster than anyone can keep up with.

That’s why disambiguation is now a pre-requisite of almost any serious conversation. We can’t just casually talk about weather anymore, like they used to, at our five o’clock tea. Nope, we have to make sure we are very clear about what weather exactly we’re talking. Because we may talk about all, or just one of the below:

  • climate change
  • weather in our current city
  • weather as a supporting factor in psychological instability (weather-dependence)
  • major weather disruption in some part of the world (floods, fires, extreme cold or hot temperatures)

But hey, weather is still quite a benign topic. What about something more heated, like “pro vaccine” versus “anti vaccine”?

It’s important to disambiguate “pro-vaccine” in at least the following categories:

  • trusting the current level of development in a specific area of medicine and willing to take the risk
  • not giving too much fucks to science, just wanting to travel and access more social services (not available to “anti vaccine”)
  • mistaking “science” for “dogma”, hence believing science is infallible and always right

All of the above falls into the broader category of “pro vaccine”, but as you can see, there are a lot of differences between motivations, perspectives and approaches.

Subsequently, “anti vaccine” can be disambiguated in at least the following categories:

  • not trusting any type of vaccine, despite evidence that, at least in certain contexts, vaccines are a reliable profilactic treatment
  • not trusting a specific level of development for a specific vaccine, hence waiting until the tests are finished
  • having previous medical conditions (allergies, etc) that are preventing them for taking a vaccine

Again, all of the above falls into the broader category of “anti vaccine”, but it might be well worth the while to disambiguate and understand all the nuances.

Because in these more “heated” situations, not knowing what you’re talking about can push you into tribalism, which will mean falling down the evolutionary scale well below the 100 years interval given at the beginning of the article.

It’s never “us” versus “them”, it’s always “all on the same journey”.

Photo by Yevhen Rozhylo on Unsplash

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