Seek to get triggered

What’ve I’ve noticed is that not many people have the ability to hold two or more opposing ideas in their minds at once.

Let’s take politics, for example. The topic that is perhaps the most triggering of all the topics out there.

In the US, they have republicans and democrats, and both have their world views. People choose a side. What is fascinating is that once you choose a side, you kind of have to agree with everything your side comes up with. You can’t simply say “Well, I agree with the healthcare point of view of this party but disagree with the immigration politics.” It’s a package deal - you have to pick all or nothing.

Actually, you can only choose certain points you agree with, but almost no one does. Very few people look at politics this way. I mean, is the healthcare really connected to the immigration? Not really. Therefore, just because one agrees with one aspect, does not mean you have to agree with everything else as well. But people rationalize: if I support this party because of x, then it means I also agree on y.

I have to admit I was definitely one of those people who got very easily triggered by politics. I do hope I’m doing better now. Getting triggered by anything is a bad sign in itself. It doesn’t necessarily even have to be about politics.

If you get triggered by something, it means something is not right and needs to be fixed. I think it’s a sign of a very strong form of “resistance”.

We usually tend to avoid to read, watch, and listen to ideas and people that may trigger us. If you’re a hardcore republican, you don’t want to hear anything that democrats have to say and vice versa. You would only read the things “your side” publishes. It makes us feel good, and it’s comforting. It gives certainty that our world view is the correct one. God forbid if we’ve believed the wrong thing!

Speaking of religion - this also huge. Some people would go so far as to kill other human beings just to make sure their world view is not put to the test. They would do absolutely anything to preserve their identity.

This is also the reason why people who are a member of some cult and e.g., expect an alien ship to rescue them keep believing these fantasies no matter how much counter-evidence is presented to them. They wait for the ships to arrive over and over again. Deep down inside, they may know that it’s total bullshit, but they can’t ever admit that. That would mean that their world view was wrong. For them, everything would then collapse.

Needless to say, trying to reason with these people is useless. It would just create more resistance.

Therefore, I think it’s a good exercise to seek out things that would “trigger” us. Read the things you’d normally wouldn’t read. E.g., join a flat earth supporters forum or watch extreme right / extreme left videos.

It’s a good exercise in a way that it makes you become aware of the different emotions and impulses that bubble up. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with these ideas but the ability to understand them and the people - that’s the point.

As the great Stephen Covey has said: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”