I recently learned about a tendency people have, which is to correct others. This comes from Chris Voss in his book Never Split the Difference. In his negotiations, he would make little mistakes to get the other side to divulge more information thanks to the deep rooted need to correct others. Voss was a hostage negotiator for the FBI.
I can’t help thinking that our current problems are an amped up version of this. It is a war to prove the other side wrong at any cost.
But what’s the alternative? If I didn’t feel compelled to correct somebody else, how would that be? I suppose I would hear them out and then go on with my life. I would have to accept they think differently. Then I would go about my day. Although, I might need to take corrective action to avoid them interfering with my life with their alarming ideas, if they reached that level.
Is it really our job to fix the world? Couldn’t we just focus on our own sphere of influence? I can’t do anything about the protests in XYZ City. I could, however, raise my children to focus on building rather than destroying their communities. I can’t rid the world of socialism. However, I can teach my family the value of good money management and investing rather than turning to the public trough for handouts. I can’t end racism. However, I can teach my family about love and human dignity.
For people with a twisted view of the world, I won’t be the person who convinces them they are wrong. It takes a great deal of work to warp someone. It would be beyond my capability to unwind their tangled world view. What if I prevent it from happening by lending a hand to people in need? What if my kindness prevents people from becoming bitter and spiteful to the world?
I have the sense that, for the most part, this generation is trashed. Hearts are hardened. Minds are entrenched. And, apparently everyone is wrong.
There is only one of me against the world. My chances at changing the world are better if I keep it to the people in my immediate community. Family. Friends. Neighbors.
A more apropos example is COVID-19. I can’t stop you from getting it. I can’t stop some guy on a bus in Springfield from getting COVID-19. I can, however, protect myself and make my immediate environment safe. It’s not that I don’t care about you and want you to die. Rather, it is that I don’t control you and have no idea how foolish you have been regarding exposure. All I can do is guard myself and get you away from my environment as quickly as possible.
There are things we can control and a whole world we cannot control.
I think social media has given us the sense that we have an obligation to make our opinion heard whether it is solicited or not. Somebody on the Internet is wrong and you have the solemn obligation to correct it. Your world might be crumbling around you. But, at least you told somebody else how wrong they were.
I am trying to think of how to share my solicited opinion without telling somebody they are wrong.
What do you think? Is it the uncontrollable urge to correct others the root of so much rancor and anger in the world today?