This morning I received the nicest email from Louise who said that my last post, the one that took her comment as a jumping off point, had made her think. I loved it when she said, "And yes, it would indeed be boring and stagnating to limit ourselves to reading only those views that mirrored back our own opinions." She's exactly right!
I took a college course in social psychology and one of the things that stayed with me is the notion that we are programmed to seek out others who are similar to ourselves. If we go into a room where we don't know anyone who is there, we are predisposed to sit next to someone we perceive is like us. We're more comfortable with those who are similar.
But it's not always about comfort, is it? A search for truth necessitates exploration of a variety of viewpoints. Learning about different perspectives opens us up to possibilities that perhaps we'd not considered before. Sometimes reading and hearing other opinions underscores and validates our own. And other times that reading and hearing shows us that there are things we've not considered and perhaps we're not quite so secure in those opinions.
I read a lot of blogs. Many of them are quilters, like me. Many of them reflect other pieces of who I am. But not all.
I read two guys regularly; they're neither of them quilters like me, but they are introspective and articulate. And they could not be more unlike each other! Matt is a conservative Republican who is deeply connected to his faith and devoted to his family. We disagree on many things. And we read and learn from each other. Then there's Chez (bless his heart) who is also devoted to his family (which is in a precarious state at present); he's a super liberal who's had life experiences that I can't begin to imagine. He's one of the finest writers I've ever encountered and has written a semi-autobiographical book that I can't help but imagine will be a film at the Ritz one day. Reading their blogs informs me, sometimes appalls and sometimes entertains me, and never fails to make me think.
Didn't Louise just nail it?