From My Bookshelf: The Power of Us

We are all individuals. We’d like to think of ourselves as unique. Of course, we are. However, The Power of Us by Jay J. Van Bavel and Dominic J. Packer, recommended to me by my oldest nephew and reading buddy, noted that our individual aspects of identities are hard to separate from our social aspects of identities. The social groups we belong to shape the very experience of what it means to be an individual.

Book cover with title, The Power of Us with the word US being formed by crowds of people. Background contains three jars of colorful markers and pencils.

“Identities provide us with ideas, philosophies, theories, and languages that draw our attention to what matters and help us to explain to ourselves (and others) what is unfolding in the world around us. These identities shape our perception of the social and physical world, altering where we look and how we interpret the environment. This selective attention and filtering process helps explain why people can experience the same events yet come to very different conclusions about what transpired.” (p. 57) Different perspectives and representation matters. As well as challenging groupthink.

How do we escape echo chambers? Burst our filter bubbles? Question disinformation? Cross the partisan divide and seek to understand? Listen to our implicit bias? Develop allyship? And see that dissenters do not have to be right, but urge us to think more fully?

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