The Dangers of Mirror-Image Thinking

Many difficulties of our current public discourse are pervaded by one relatively simple yet devilishly persistent cognitive difficulty. This is especially evident with current discussion regarding the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Many Westerners, in particular Americans, appear to have difficulty understanding and internalizing the differences between Western society and others. When trying to relay personal anecdotes about my experiences when travelling or even just discussing current events, I have often found the understanding of others to be critically lacking in basic context. There is a problem in conceiving how, despite many similarities, other cultures can be so strikingly different. Some people are open to the new information. “Oh, well I’m glad I don’t live ‘there’ then!” being an example response to a newly revealed unpleasant fact. For some, however, such a realization is undesired, even a painful or...(Read Full Article)

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