Biased assimilation and cognitive dissonance exist no matter what space you occupy in the discourse. You’re not immune even if you’re exceptionally self-aware or empathic. These human tendencies seem to be contributing to the villainization of “other” perspectives that are outside of one’s current worldview, because each group believes its truth to be fact and reality. I believe it’s important for each of us to look beyond our carefully constructed pictures of reality—which we may’ve adopted from outside sources like parents, authority figures, or systems we were born into—and acknowledge that there is more than one way, one truth, one reality. When we do this, we expand our individual and collective possibilities and we connect to our humanity through compassion and empathy.
This crisis is igniting questions for people. Some are questioning the mainstream narratives in our medical and media culture. Some are questioning the non-dominant narratives that are emerging. My intention here is not to support one side or another. Rather, it’s my hope that we all acknowledge our own biases and the dissonance that we experience when we encounter stories, experiences, perspectives, and worldviews that don’t match our own. If you’re questioning the other side, consider questioning your side as well, especially if you’re being told not to question. And consider possible narratives outside of those that only work for a portion of our population. We must ask ourselves: How do I benefit from discounting this particular culture, belief, perspective, system? Who benefits from the idea that they have it all wrong and we (name your self-identified group), have it right?