I am sure most of you have listened to the “Yanny or Laurel” phenomenon that went viral this month. If you read my first guest blog entry you can probably guess I am intrigued by things like this. Being older (and enhanced by playing rock music too loud over the years) I can only hear “Laurel”. I enjoyed this and learning a bit of the “how” different people hear this differently for about 10 minutes then I was done.
Over this last weekend I was with a group and this was brought up. A young lady in the group had not heard about it and someone played it for her. She of course only heard “Yanny”. Even after a 5 minute conversation and even technical explanations, she was sold that all those around her were pulling a prank on her.
I view this as similar to “The Dress” photo a few years ago where people argued endlessly (I personally would call it “needlessly”) about the dress being white and gold vs black and blue. There were 10 MILLION tweets about the dress. I just have to be clear, not none one of them was from me! Having been into photography back a few years ago, to me this was simply an issue of lighting. I lost interest in this “debate” in about 2 minutes.
There are some illusions that you first see them and you grasp what the picture is of, but if someone explains another “interpretation” of it you can “get it”. Sometimes your brain then wants to go back to the initial interpretation and sometimes it can be rather indecisive and somewhat randomly switching back and forth. A classic is the “My Wife and My Mother-in-Law” published over a century ago by a British cartoonist.
There are some people that very literally see things differently than most. Take color blindness. Those with this condition will just not “see” the same colors that others do – no matter how someone explains it or tries to convince the them to see it the same way.
As interesting as these phenomenons are, I am actually more intrigued by why people become so passionate about convincing others to see things the way they do. I absolutely get that we have an intrinsic need to feel validated and find “our tribe”. I guess many are reading this blog for that very reason. But I just don’t quite understand why some people care so much about others agreeing with them on what I see are totally petty issues.
And just as we often like to have others visually seeing things the same, we certainly like to have others “seeing things the same” as in agreeing with our beliefs and views. I recall how Jonathan Haidt framed moral matrices that I mentioned in the The Self-Righteous Mind post. My interpretation of these moral matrices are formed on some base personality characteristics. As an example, there are people that just have a strong desire for liberty and/or a strong aversion to oppression and they will naturally become what we generally call Libertarians. Another person in the same environment that has a strong sense of caring for others and an aversion to people being harmed will tend to move to a Liberal stance. We almost all have our own “Uncle Bob” in the family that nobody is ever going to change his mind on some views. For some Uncle Bob has a strong desire to get everyone else to see the world their way. It is what makes families fun!
This does remind me of a topic I have heard about with relationships on the scale between being enmeshed and differentiated. Enmeshed relationships require others to feel/believe the same. I heard a great example of an enmeshed family. It was a case where the parents found what they thought was a great insurance policy. They told their adult children about it and encouraged them to switch to it. The parents were upset that one of their children didn’t switch over to the same insurance like the rest of the family. This is in contrast to differentiated relationship where one feels solid in a relationship and is fine with the other person(s) not fully agreeing on every item.
I have noticed a strong desire for most wards I have been in to have everyone generally aligned and believing the same. Of course you can disagree what flavor of Jello you put shredded carrots in, but there are many topics/beliefs that if you are not aligned the way others think you should be, then there are significant social costs.
Have you found that wards you live in have different items that are stressed differently across the wards? Has this generally been a good thing (creating unity and community) or has it been more decisive (making some feel unaccepted)?
Other than being accepting ourselves as individuals, how can we help our wards be a bit more open even to those that don’t believe everything the same as we do?
Images from wikimedia commons.