“Our responsibility as artists is to challenge ourselves.”
– Dan Butler
Think back to a time when you were confronted by new information that made you question some of your deeply held beliefs. How did it make you feel? Were you angry? Disappointed? Embarrassed?
When that first reaction subsided, what did you do? Did you argue? Did you walk away? Did you ignore it and move on? Or, did you get curious to learn more?
I used to want to fight and “win” the argument. It felt almost like a personal affront to be challenged in that way.
Fortunately I was exposed to great books & mentors who knew how to question my beliefs in a gentler way than saying: “You’re wrong and I’m right.”
This opened up a whole new world for me and I’m eternally grateful for it.
Around this time I started to actively surround myself with people who questioned my beliefs and challenged me. Not in a hostile “better than you” sort of way but in that gentle questioning way.
Some years later I was struck with the realization that while I had all these great people around me the books I was reading, the music I was listening to and the shows I consumed were still pretty damn homogeneous.
That’s when I also started reading, listening and consuming things and information that directly opposed whatever I was into at the moment.
Usually it only served to enforce my appreciation for what I already liked but from time to time I would come across something I wouldn’t have found unless I actively challenge myself.
The reason I’m writing this is because I came across a book called “The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You” by Eli Pariser that talks about how we’re being fed more of what we think we like and think we want to know.
As opposed to having that being interspersed with information that contradicts or adds another point of view.
Now, what I really like about this thing is that not only did Eli talk about the issue but he sought help, went out and did something about it. What did he do? He accepted the challenge and started Upworthy.
While it’s still not the ultimate solution (we’re still being “fed” things there too) it’s atleast a step in the right direction. What I’d like to see is a button on Google and other sites that says “Challenge Me”.
Would you accept the challenge?