Making decisions is hard. Making decisions that could possibly impact the lives of others is REALLY hard. The invention of Google, and the ease with which we can justify our decisions with a strategic search and a tap of the “Enter” key can make decision making much easier… But it sure as hell doesn’t make it better.
It’s a shame the process no longer requires people to physically walk their asses to a library, search a database, find a book, scan the table of contents, locate their desired topic, then READ the information presented to them within said resource. Back in the pre-Internet days, if the opinion of one author didn’t jive with a person’s own school of thought, it was back to the drawing board; this process could go on for so long that by the time the researcher landed on an outlook that appeased her, she’d actually have read multiple viewpoints and maybe even expanded her own knowledge on the topic.
Lots of people didn’t have the time or desire to bury themselves under a pile of books in the library (understandable), so they brought up their topic of curiosity to friends/family members/colleagues/etc., and in doing so, were introduced to a plethora of viewpoints, dictated by a combination of hard knowledge and personal experience, once again varying the scope of information collected.
But we live in a different time. We ironically live in what we call THE INFORMATION AGE: where opinions are mistaken for fact, where anyone with a computer can become a published author, and where (thanks to information sharing platforms like Facebook and Twitter) we find ourselves inundated with article after article that masquerade as trusted authorities when they’re often merely click-bait bullshit written by people who are far from experts on the subject on which they’re writing.
What’s truly unfortunate, is that thanks to Google, we can limit our search so much it allows us to keep our blinders on snugly and only gravitate to literature that supports our viewpoint. So now, instead of investing “library time” in finding and creating informed decisions, we can simply just look up key words that work for us, and go with it. I refer to this as subscribing to “Convenient Theories for Me Weekly” – And it’s not just limited to parenting-related issues.
Anti-vax? Pro-trump? Gentle Parent? Tiger Mom? Co-sleeper? Gun activist? Evangelical? Vegan? Home schooler?
Whatever you identify as, don’t you worry! With the help of your handy search engines, you can find validation for your personal viewpoint hiding in several corners of the Internet! And once you’ve read the opinions of everyone who agrees with you, the next step is obvious: blast that shit out to your social media following and let everyone know your way is the right way; and you should know – you did the “research”.
Now don’t get me wrong – I actually really hope you deeply believe your way is the right way. I hope you feel good about all the miniscule decisions you make everyday – after all, it is those tiny decisions that make up the way in which you choose to live your life.
What I also hope is that you’re not so ignorant as to assume your way is the right way for anybody else but you. I hope that whenever you come across a piece of writing that is absolutely aligned with your every opinion on a specific topic, whether that topic be eating ugly produce or letting your child cry himself to sleep, you’ll let out a little sigh of relief that you’re not alone in this great big world and then you’ll move the fuck on without feeling the need to broadcast the fact that your beliefs have been validated by those of another person and are therefore more important than the beliefs of others.
The Internet has made it really easy for us to be wrong and strong. We solidify our opinions and use them to wage war against those whose opinions contradict our own. And why is that? Because insecurity + ignorance = defensiveness.
Someone who is secure in their decisions (be they lifestyle/parenting/political or any other kind) has likely studied both sides of an argument. They’ve weighed the pros and cons, then they’ve looked at them in the context of their own life experiences and they’ve made an informed decision that works for them. And that’s what I’m suggesting everyone strives to do in this age of information in which we’ve found ourselves living.
We’re too quick to judge, too quick to force our own shit on other people. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions and everybody has the grave responsibility to make important decisions that not only affect them, but also impact those who they love. The pressure is palpable – made worse by the heaps of information we’re forced to sort through before we land on something that’s not utter bullshit.
So what can we do? Well, for starters, we can talk to each other. And by talk, I actually mean listen. We can talk to our grandparents and parents and draw on their experiences and listen to their recommendations in regard to everything from politics to pregnancy. We can surround ourselves with intelligent people who can converse and debate like adults and help us broaden our horizons and emerge from the bubble of our everyday lives. And we can stop looking for validation from like-minded sources, and start searching for options. It’s time to unsubscribe from “Convenient Theories for Me Weekly” and realize that outside our comfort zones is the only place where there’s actually room to grow.