In recent years a lot has been made of filter bubbles. The idea that because we consume different media we have different realities and we become different people. There's often this kind of longing that you hear to go back to the days when there was one truth. When it was all so simple.
I get that desire. I understand it. I feel it too sometimes. But I also think it's unrealistic and it goes against the grain of who we actually are.
You could also say that these filter bubbles don't make us. We choose them. Because we're different people, we choose different media.
I can remember all the way back to the world before COVID when my wife and I would go on double dates with other couples. Sometimes you go on a double date with people who don't watch the same TV shows as you. You think the pandemic is bad? Try to have a conversation with somebody who has different taste!
People are actually different. There are NPR people and there are Fox people and there are HBO people there are soap opera people. The marvel of the modern world is that cable providers created thousands of channels and the internet has taught us that there's actually enough relevant stories to fill every single one of them with many more left over.
That's the beauty of the world. We're all in it, we can all hear each other, and we all have something to say. That sounds scary, but there’s room for all of us. There's room for every one of us to speak our truths. But -- and this is a big but -- you have to respect other people’s truths as much as you respect your own. That's the secret.
I lived in New York City for 20 years and left a few years ago. Living in New York teaches you what it means to respect someone else’s truth. New York has little physical space, you’re all packed in on each other. So when you go on the subway everyone has a right to their bubble. These bubbles are good things. Everybody gets one. They protect you.
The attitude in New York is “hey buddy, you do you.” If you don’t bother anybody else, it’s fine. It doesn’t sound like it, but that’s enlightenment. That's what enlightenment looks like: “hey buddy, you do you.”
It’s great for you to be different. It’s great for me to be different. We can all be different and still find plenty of ways we’re the same. We all have individual desires and individual experiences. But we also have more in common in our individual experiences than we think. That’s what we learn in places like the Bento Society. That we’re different but also the same.