The trap of the tribal bubble

Tumultuous change is accompanied by fear and anxiousness. It is fertile ground for the professional deceivers and populist leaders touting easy solutions to complex problems as we are currently seeing in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Only a few weeks ago none of us would have predicted that the world would come to a standstill as a result of a virus.  Amid the uncertainty,  we are hearing countless conspiracy theories, obvious falsehoods, lies, and disinformation – some of it even spread by governments to deflect from their own failings and chaotic crisis management.

Guarding the mind against distraction and confusion

During such times it is vital to guard the mind against the floodgates of negativity and toxic emotion. It is easy to fall into the trap of the tribal bubble. By this, I mean that you have a thought. That thought is confirmed by finding information in search engines that will confirm that thought. That thought then becomes a belief when the mind is closed to all other information or facts. The belief has so much become part of the tribal identity that any other information that threatens this identity is perceived as a threat. A conversation or meaningful debate becomes impossible with a person living in a tribal bubble.

What are the facts?

It the current situation it is best to go with the obvious known facts. Where does the information come from? Who said it? Does the source have a record of reliability and fact-checking?

We know that the virus spreads very rapidly. It affects mostly the elderly and people with a  weak immune system but there are also cases of fit and healthy young people who have died from the virus which cannot be explained. Was it correct to shut down the economy to save lives? You bet it was. Just compare the casualty figures of countries that listened to the scientists (South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan and Germany) and those that remained locked in their political ideologies and responded far too late (the United States, Britain, Brazil, China and Russia).  The United States has the additional problem that response to the pandemic is hampered by the divisive partisan politics.

When belief becomes part of self and ego

Political ideology has all the trappings of a pseudo-religion. It’s either black or white. A religious cult has the philosophy of either you believe what we tell you to or you are eternally damned. Ideology is spiked with divisive hate language and blaming others.

When you live in a tribal bubble you will listen only to those people, and media outlets that share your opinion. You have a fixed belief and it becomes part of the ego and the self. Different opinions, irrefutable evidence, and scientific fact are slated as “fake news” because they threaten the image of a false identity that has been created. If there is no willingness to even listen or to discern between the opinion and the humanity of the other, the inevitable result is confusion about common values that solidify society.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

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