Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.

 

Bubbles

OK, I admit it. I live in a bubble. And you live in a bubble.

We all live in bubbles.

Even those who criticize us for living in bubbles live in bubbles.

And those who say that people who live in bubbles can’t understand the “real” America, they live in bubbles, too.

So, let’s acknowledge our mutual bubbleness – the reality that most of us spend much of our time with people who are like us, people who share our views and reaffirm our values and with whom we can relax and be ourselves.

Problems arise, however, when we mistake our bubble for the whole world – which is why it’s good to get out of our bubble from time to time. To make an effort to climb – or at least look – over what Arlie Russell Hochschild calls the “empathy wall” in Strangers in Their Own Land and try to understand people who are different from us. Maybe even to celebrate those differences, delighting in the vast diversity that is America.

That recognition of “the other” was at the heart of many of the responses to the Giving Very Small post: “With most of us living in our respective, rather narrow, community ‘bubble,’” wrote one reader, “a real interaction with someone outside of our comfort zone is remarkably valuable to all concerned.”

This is true because, by definition, the more narrow your bubble, the more constricted your life.

Donald Trump lives in an alarmingly narrow bubble, and he spent last week signaling his intention to impose his insular views on all of America. We must not let that happen.

I could care less about the size of Trump’s hands. But his tiny bubble scares the hell out of me.

“As We Go Marching On” *

It’s always ourselves we find in the sea*