‘Socially Constructed Realities’ (SCRs) are the assumptions we all act under subconsciously. They may be assumptions about how the world works, how people are, why we do what we do, how we should act, etc. By nature, these are formed within us due to the society and culture we grow up in.
They help us to anticipate outcomes and react quickly to key events. They also limit our ability to learn, as we often practice ‘selective noticing’—noticing things and interpreting events in a way that only reinforces our current notions, while discounting anything which challenges them.
With the internet, it is easier than ever to find groups of people who fit exactly into our predefined SCR’s—Facebook alone is replete with large groups for even the most wildly absurd types of people—Flat Earthers, conspiracy nuts, Juggalos, Trump supporters, etc. The problem with this is that by surrounding ourselves with people who operate under the same assumptions as we do, we limit our ability to have these assumptions challenged, and thus stunt any potential for intellectual growth.
Essentially, we deny ourselves the experience of other viewpoints while reinforcing the limitations of our own. This is a terrible abuse of our inherent potential. It creates greater polarity between people, leading to division, group think, and more often than not, hatred.
This is not to say we shouldn’t enjoy the company of like-minded individuals, which is of course a very important element of a healthy and balanced social life. But we must be cognizant to avoid doing so to the exclusion of all differing viewpoints—as doing this prevents our learning and growth.
Rather, we should challenge ourselves to find those with radically different SCRs, and seek (with patience and respect) to better understand them. Often, we may find this allows us to better understand ourselves as well, as it enables us to more effectively assess and challenge the assumptions driving our own worldviews.
So find those you disagree with—who challenge all that you hold dear. Question them and learn from them. Assess the assumptions that drive your actions, and consider the differing views of others. Do not enshrine yourself in the familiar, but search for the radical, the different and the seemingly absurd. This is the path to self-actualization, and ultimately, a more understanding and respectful society.
-Brad OH Inc.