Yesterday I wrote about the need to be willing to accept truth (and discard error) from wherever we find it, not just when it’s from our favorites (or least-favorites). A friend on Facebook noted in a comment on my post that she has lately been “tuning out” certain bloggers whom she has found repeatedly irritating or unhelpful.
As negative as I first thought it sounded, in truth I resemble that remark. It wasn’t that many months ago that I asked some friends for their opinions on whether I should keep certain websites in my regular reading list, even if they were irritants, or whether it was appropriate to just delete them if they were consistently making me crazy.
So after writing yesterday’s post I find myself in a bit of a quandary. How do I go about learning from even those people who I often disagree with if I’m going to stop reading them at all?
Well, I’m not gonna read everybody
I should acknowledge that there are a certain set of folks who I just won’t read, because the value-to-noise ratio is so small that it’s just not worth it. Sorry, 9/11 truthers. Sorry, Mr. Third Eagle of the Apocalypse. There’s only so much time in the day.
In Which I Choose Not to Name Names
Part of me really wants to list a bunch of names of bloggers that I need to consider re-adding to my feed reader. But all that would do would provoke reactions from folks who like the folks I’ve deleted, and the point of this post isn’t to get into arguments about who’s worth reading and who’s not.
More important is deciding to read, and to have the humility to read and at least consider the views of those even who I think I’m fairly likely to disagree with. This accomplishes several things. It hones my critical thinking skills. It broadens my general knowledge of the arguments that are out there on any given topic. It provides me the opportunity to humbly understand that I might be wrong on certain points, and to correct my own thinking.
There may still be times when some author is driving me crazy. Am I wrong to delete their feed and not read them for a while? Probably not. But more important than what I’m reading is why I’m reacting so strongly. If I’m reacting because an author truly isn’t making sense on a regular basis, maybe I really should delete them. If I’m reacting because I don’t like what’s being said, why am I reacting?
There are millions of words written every day that I disagree with. Why do those particular words make me react? What does that reflect about my heart, thoughts, and intentions? Once I get that settled I’ll know better what to do with that pesky blog subscription.
Draw your own conclusion.
My conclusion for myself is that I should add a few feeds back to my reader. (Your conclusion for yourself might be different.) Then, if I still have a strong reaction, I’ll work to understand why I have that reaction. I’m hoping I’ll learn more about my personal biases and blind spots. God knows I have plenty to learn.