2020 is not quite over yet and I still have so much to tell you, but just in case you’re curious:
I think 2021 will be better than 2020.
The quantity of material that has happened this year, both individually and collectively, makes me dizzy and puts a strain on my capacity to digest information. 2021 compelled me (or provided me with the chance) to develop new methods to cope with and live with complexity. In the 1980s, while living in a totalitarian nation, I prepared for the unknown. I’m thankful for the endurance and resourcefulness I’ve learned. Everything I do is questioned. I don’t believe anything at face value and like to look at things from all angles. This year, I read more scientific journalism, research, and surveys than I ever had before. I’ve never verified so many claims and news items in my life. This has prevented me from slipping into a rabbit hole and being trapped.
Holding complexity for me begins with mental flexibility and a willingness to endure the discomfort of re-evaluating and modifying my beliefs. Out with the dualism and in with the reminder that two things may be true at the same time. I can be irritated with someone while yet respecting them. A person may be a wonderful person and a friend while being annoyingly committed to a belief. I’m ready to let go of the epidemic and give people the freedom to be cautious. I may be both frightened about impending environmental calamities and optimistic that we will eventually figure it out.
More information does not imply that we are more educated or that we make better judgments. More information, not all of it reliable, just adds to the complexity and confusion. When classifying and arranging what is received, the human mind automatically strives for shortcuts and simplifications. We are more likely to recall what we hear initially due to the “primacy effect.” We continue to seek comparable, confirming information because of confirmation bias. We tend to organize ourselves into information and opinion groups as we go along the road of least resistance. It assists us in avoiding uncertainty. Among like-minded people, we feel acknowledged and supported. And we’re still drifting apart, with increasing hostility.
It appears as follows:
We’re going to get through this together, Atascadero
- We swiftly establish views and defend them with the zeal of a Karen!
- We feel compelled to have and defend a viewpoint at all times… Karen-style!
- Instead of being interested and open-minded, we condemn ourselves and others.
- Based on these judgements and views, we build likes and dislikes.
- To protect, legitimize, and proselytize our beliefs, we avoid or seek conflicts.
- We hold individuals who do not share our viewpoints responsible for the perceived wrongs.
- We demonize people who supply contradictory information and attempt to kill their reputations.
- We live in denial and depend on harmful self-soothing activities to escape truth.
- Offense, fury, and feeling mistreated have become a way of life for us.
- We are hypocrites if we hold others to the same standards we do not.
- “Us” and “the ignorant folks out there” are how we divide the globe.
Another way I keep complexity in check is to stay sensible. Emotions have a way of distorting view, explaining motive, and causing awful mistakes. Rationality protects you against being swayed by the priorities of others, such as the media, politicians, merchants, and terrible friends. Rationality aids in perceiving things as they are, not as they are worse or better.
I don’t believe I’ll be able to make it to 2021. I’m not sure I’m excited for 2022 either. I’m hoping for a better future. I’m concerned that society’s fabric is irrevocably ripped and irreparably damaged. When I’m feeling down, I think about and appreciate the people in my life. I concentrate on my puppy and lavishly treat her. I concentrate on what I can accomplish and do something useful. Perhaps others feel the same way, and our combined efforts will make a difference.
This essay has been drastically condensed. Visit my blog, vpetrova.com, to read the whole story.
Since 2015, Valentina Petrova has assisted individuals with their personal, health, relationship, financial, and professional objectives and obstacles. Valentina Petrova Consulting may be reached at valentinapetrovaconsulting.com.
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