Friday, April 1, 2016

Dissoi Logoi

As I approach the end of my freshman year in college, I've come to notice that college students, for the grand majority of what I've noticed, are more accepting of other students' ideals, ways of life, etc. than other, past groups of peers in my life. For example, I grew up in a strict, Catholic household where it was engrained into me that if someone was not Catholic, or didn't believe in God altogether, they weren't to be trusted. This is, of course, a very extreme approach to the otherwise kind-hearted, accepting nature of the Catholic church. There were many other little things that another person could believe or live by, that would fall into a category of people my parents didn't want me hanging out with. Growing up, I accepted these ideals and beliefs without argument, and really didn't want to or care to hear what others' reasoning was for their beliefs and whatnot. I point this out because it shows that, even before social media came around, I was already having a filter bubble produced for me by my family. This isn't to say that this is a bad thing, because this happens to many children. They take after what is taught to them by their parents until they have a developed mind of their own that can formulate its own opinions. It isn't until that time that a child can use his/her own reasoning and morals to know how they feel about topical issues. For me, this occurred in late high school into college. I began to stray from many of the Republican, Catholicism-based ideals my family taught me, and took on a more open-minded view of the United States and the world. I strive to keep bias out of my news feed, however, which I receive from Reddit. Reddit works on a voting system. The higher voted posts get moved to the top, which tend to be the more important stories. This is helpful because instead of getting mostly Democratic posts, there are many different sides to the stories being shown, often expanding beyond just bi-partisan answers.

I very much agree that certain algorithms on social media are making an unintentional push towards a more polarized America. This isn't a bad thing by itself, but it does allow for people to stray from dissoi logoi very easily. It seems now that, instead of having an argument to persuade or inform someone else, people argue for personal gain, and knowledge that they "bested" someone else. For the moderates of America, a polarized nation is a good thing. This now puts them in a seat of power where their votes have more weight as they shift the polls back and forth.

Dissoi logoi helps me already in so much of my daily life. Actually listening to others' arguments helps me to better my relationships because of things that I change or tweak about the way I present myself. To fully engage myself in dissoi logoi, I could not talk at all until someone is completely finished with their point, so as to let them know that I am listening and interested in what they're saying. Another thing I could do is try to see things from others' points of view. I know that with some of my relationships, I don't always try to see eye to eye, and I could work on being a more understanding person.

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