I’m not talking about living in a bubble the way a “young earth creationist”–as a random example–does, what a creationist does is more akin to living in a different reality. Nor like an obese individual, who lives in a bubble of fat. What I’m talking about is more like effective information management.
A common theme among people is that there’s no such thing as too much negative information. They can guzzle it down by the gallon. Oil thirsty? Forget that. Negativity is what people can’t get enough of. Now, I think this is fine theoretically; it doesn’t matter how anyone else operates, as long as it doesn’t interfere with anything I’m doing. (This is a good outlook.)
Problem is, people don’t live in their own sovereign realities (yet), so the attitudes of the people you find yourself surrounded with tend to bleed into you. Mostly this is positive and is the way that much of society’s growth and progress is made. But it goes both ways, just as constructiveness and intelligence are contagious so are destructiveness and stupidity.
People have always done their best to keep this from negatively effecting them, mostly by blocking out any information that goes against their established beliefs, positive or negative. One way they have done this is by gathering groups of like-minded people and creating subcultures, the internet has lots of these, and this is the reason immigrants have trouble assimilating into new cultures (they just rebuild their culture at a new location).
The effect of all this is that people tend to either accept and assimilate all input they receive, or disregard all new information by principle. As with most human behaviors, this is not balanced. What I propose is a more moderate alternative: living in a bubble.
This means viewing all information that’s around you, but only allowing the cream of the crop into your bubble with you. It’s vital that all information is viewed, and equally so that only quality information is allowed to pierce your bubble. This is also somewhat risky, and should only be carried out by those with a good education and an open mind. The potential for your bubble to harden up and turn into a solid barrier that no information can enter or escape from is high if it is done incorrectly.
When I say you should view “all information” I mean all information above a certain quality threshold. One still shouldn’t seek out poor quality information, they should do their best to surround themselves with quality. Even in a bubble, if enough poor information is allowed to put pressure on the bubble, it will eventually pop or cave in–and you will get buried in an avalanche of terrible. The bubble is simply an extra filter to add to your information parsing tool set.
For example, say there are two responses to a question on a website asking why most doctors are quick to condemn physically benign psychoactive substances. One is:
The contemporary medical paradigm embodies a distinction common to our culture: The sharp distinction between curing disease and enhancing function to extraordinary levels. Doctors see their job as remedying disease and defect, not as augmentation of already-healthy function. I see this as related to a limited conception of “the natural”. When we cure a defect, we simply make things as nature (or God) intended. It’s unnatural, it’s said, to live without end, or to boost the body and brain beyond the norm. Thus, we find acceptable psychiatric drugs but reject intelligence-boosting drugs; we practice heart surgery but not deep-freezing the barely dead.
And the other is:
u mad bro?
Your natural propensity to negativity may lead you to ignore the first response and focus furiously on the second. Perhaps writing several books worth of material revealing its poor reasoning and flawed logic. And although this may be satisfying, I ague that it’s a terrible use of your time. Analyzing the question more in depth and looking for further information would be one of many better alternatives.
If you are in a bubble you simply prevent the second response from reaching your brain’s analysis centers, and instead view it more like you would a dead skunk on the highway. Road kill is far too filthy to pick up and dissect, so if you view web kill in the same light, it will cause you no more harm than a dead animal. Just as you wouldn’t crunch on a dead skunk to analyze its texture, do not crunch on useless information.