In 2011 Eli Pariser wrote a prescient book called /The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You/ and though it was based on how the Internet presents you information, it is just as true in the real world. Our actions and our ability to think critically are influenced by our everyday interactions with other humans, both on and offline.
If we only seek out those who have the same values, beliefs, viewpoints and ideas as ourselves, our ability to form objective opinions on something is limited. We don’t have all the information, reasoning and thinking that has allowed these various viewpoints to be arrived at.
We all tend to read articles and stories that we agree with and watch shows that confirm our beliefs. We don’t want our ideas to be challenged, and we certainly don’t want to be around people who disagree with our viewpoints. But, by remaining in these filter bubbles, we risk closing our minds and narrowing our thinking to set pathways that reinforce our cognitive confirmation biases and yes, our ability to think sideways.
How you approach this is critical, it is important to remember that you are trying to see how the opinion you disagree with has been reached. Rather than focusing on the black and white part of the opinion, reducing it to a binary outcome may enrage you, and that’s not the purpose of this exercise.
This is a decisive part of critical thinking, because it is here that you can start to see if an idea is built on quicksand or solid foundations. The surprising thing is that you might change position, thus learning more about your own confirmation bias which may have led you to the your previous opinion. This can open up a whole new world and approach to how you arrive at conclusions, so we suggest you enjoy the experience.