I’ve been involved in the Bridging Movement since November 9, 2016.
When I woke up that morning I knew I had to do something about the political divide.
Clearly I wasn’t the only one.
Every year since then there has been an increasing number of organizations
focusing on various ways to bridge this divide.
Diversity is a word we hear a lot these days. And rightly so.
But … not so much ViewPoint Diversity.
Bridging, to me, is not trying to get the other side to cross the bridge onto mine.
And it is more than just tolerating points of view different to our own.
Some imagine bridging as meeting in the middle.
I see it as: comprehending the other side’s viewpoint in such a way
that it informs and impacts the way you see the whole issue.
Bridging is the welcoming of all different viewpoints in order to zoom out
and get the biggest view we can — so that we can make optimal decisions
and take effective action that will sustainably work in the long run.
Given that there is not one of us who can
understand everything about anything,
we need viewpoint diversity.
Sometimes we believe we're perceiving the world accurately through our personal experience and the information (accurate or not) to which we've exposed ourselves.
The very first building block to being a bridger is
Becoming a bridger requires cultivating the ability to question our own beliefs and how we've come to have them, and then being able to "zoom out" beyond our personal lenses and filters to get a more accurate view of the world at large.
What is it that I am not seeing?
I need others to show me my blind spots.
The person from the “other side” might just
know something that I don’t.
A recent study, Hidden Tribes, shows us that only about 15% of the population is behind the
hyper-polarization and negative partisanship we are currently (and increasingly) experiencing.
They name the remaining 85% as the “Exhausted Majority,” those who are less ideological in their thinking
and are seeking bipartisan solutions to the pressing issues facing us today.
We can’t get a divorce, so how do we bridge our divides in order go forward
in a productive, sustainable way and create a new citizenry?
Building Bridgers offers a voice for the Exhausted Majority
and a welcoming place for viewpoint diversity.
Marla Estes has a background in Psychology. Since 2007 she has taught workshops and classes using film as a way to gain better understanding of ourselves and others.
She created Building Bridgers to address the political polarization in our country. Since 2017, she has been giving presentations, movie nights, book groups, workshops and classes.
Her focus is on education.
Understanding our psychology, neurobiology, how we’re wired as humans.
Understanding our cognitive errors, biases and maladaptive shortcuts.
Understanding our misperceptions about the “other” and about the issues themselves.
Understanding the problem with taking strong, unbending moral stances based on inaccurate, biased, partial and manipulative information. From all sides.
Understanding what’s right about the Right, what’s right about the Left, what frightens each about the other. And why we need each other.