I’m going to do it – I’m going to talk about the B word – Brexit.
Why is it that we are still arguing over it? Why do people, even those from seemingly similar backgrounds, income brackets or education levels, have such drastic and differing views on the subject? And why do both sides think they are the ones that are right and the other side are stupid/blind to the facts/racist/looking after their own interests (delete as appropriate).
The differing views come down to 1 simple thing – every single person has a different and individual map of the world. Your map is made up over time according to the experiences you’ve had, what and how you’ve been taught, your beliefs, your upbringing, your thoughts. You use your map to make sense of and experience the world around you. You do not experience anything as it truly is, you experience it through your own senses…which are filtered to fit your map.
You have learnt over time what to pay attention to and what you can let pass you by. You need to, there is a huge amount of information coming at you every moment and you can only handle about 7 things at once. That means that although the same information is available to everyone, you will only see the bits that get through your filter.
The stuff that gets through your filter gets added to your map.
The thing is, we are creatures that enjoy being right. I’m sure you’ve heard of Confirmation Bias – you believe things that support your view on the world and handily discard everything else. This is why once you’ve decided that your boss is a right muppet you notice all the things they do that support this, ignored you in the corridor, refused your holiday request, told a sexist joke – add it to the list, that boss is a muppet. Never mind that time they held the door for you, or that they made you a brew or that time you had a good craic.
That’s why the Remainers seem to believe that if we crash out of the EU it will be probably the worst thing that has ever happened to the country and we’ll definitely all lose our jobs and probably all starve, if we don’t run out of medicines first. Meanwhile the Brexiteers seem to believe that by remaining we will be enrolled unwittingly into the United States of Europe, we’ll never have a say in anything about our own lives ever again and we’ll lose our jobs and probably starve.
What we seem to be forgetting is that the map IS NOT the territory. Your perception of the world IS NOT the actual world. We’re each only taking into consideration a very small proportion of all of the stuff, we’re filtering what we decide is important based on what we have already learnt is important.
Because we’ve forgotten that we’re only working off a map, we’ve forgotten that everyone else is also working off a map. A different map. Perhaps if we stopped firing arrows at each other and took some time to share our maps and find the common ground we just might come to some kind of agreement.
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