“You should ‘go out’ more”…
… is what people usually say to me in arguments. When they say ‘go out’, they mean leaving my safe space and exposing myself to different worldview.
Obviously, that’s a sound advice. We should thrive to avoid any echo chambers if we truly have the desire to grow and discern our reality. But, I do know those people don’t care about my well-being; they just hate it that I refuse to appease to them.
People who love exaggerating the flaws of Marvel films think I need to watch anything other than Hollywood blockbusters, not realising that my favourite film directors are Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman and Stanley Kubrick, arguably giants of arthouse cinema, and some of my favourite films are not even American, let alone Hollywood.
Some people think I will grow out of my “extremely woke” politics and suggest leaving my echo chamber. It is interesting because not only there is nothing radical about centre-left politics, I used to be a lot more conservative. I also live in a country where even self-proclaimed moderates are very socially conservative. Not to mention the many conservatives, libertarians, liberals and centrists I constantly run into online.
Pro and anti-multiculturalism and anti-Muslim westerners have something in common: they genuinely believe that the west is the only diverse place on earth. The differences? The pro wants to feel superior about their own countries, thinking simply seeing minorities on the streets and having foreign ancestors boost their multicultural cred. The other camps think other places aren’t being forced to be diverse. When I refute their factually incorrect claims, they condescendingly suggest me to interact with people of differing cultural and religious backgrounds.
What they don’t know is I am from Indonesia, a country with six officially recognised religions and literally hundreds of ethnic groups; my hometown specifically has five dominant ethnic groups, which is unusual even for an Indonesian city, and has visible Christian and Buddhist minorities. I attended a middle school where I was one of the few non-Chinese-Indonesian and non-Buddhist students and I got my degree from an Australian university. Oh, and virtually all of my online friends are foreigners and much of them are non-Muslims.
My exposure to different cultures and religions is so mundane. If it wasn’t for my interactions with dumb westerners, I would have kept taking my diverse upbringing for granted.
“The more you know, the more you don’t know”
The older I get, the more I can relate to the quote. As much as I want to see myself as extremely knowledgeable, I have to acknowledge the horizon’s infinite vastness.
I haven’t tasted every film style of imaginable. I haven’t matured politically. And I have only been exposed to a tiny chunk of the world’s cultures and religions. I need to keep learning.
But, as one can tell, my aforementioned opponents clearly don’t care. They all share something in common: the belief that some or all of their opinions are absolutely correct. My mere disagreement is more than enough for them to make a baseless assumption about my personal life, which they make even before I say anything about it.
One may argue I am a hypocrite because I also make assumptions about others when I disagree with them. But, there is a difference.
My aforementioned opponents make assumptions simply because I disagree, that’s literally the sole reason. Meanwhile, I make assumptions based not only on how (un)reasonable and factually (in)accurate their opinions are, but also the anecdotes which they willingly share.
If you say enjoyment of pop culture is a sign of immaturity, I can assume you are a self-righteous bitch who want to feel undeservingly high and mighty about your tastes.
If you say centre-left politics — which is closer to the centre than it is to the far end — is too “woke”, I can assume you are swinging too far to the right end. I can also assume you are unable to perceive life’s many many shades of grey.
If you say multiculturalism can only be found in the west, I can assume you are jingostic westerners who think your countries are more special than they really are and/or you know nothing about lives beyond your borders.
If you admit that you intentionally avoid interactions with the “others” and avoid visiting other countries because you “know” how bad they are, I can definitely say you don’t care about the truth, you just want to affirm your preconceived beliefs.
Again, I refuse to say I have fully escaped all kinds of bubbles. But, I am confident I have escaped more bubbles than my opponents do.
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