“The bubble” has gotten a lot of attention in the past election year, usually being the Democrat description of the Republican party living in an echo-chamber, turning a deaf ear to any information that did not fit their agenda. And, I must admit, I think the Republican Party did this past year illustrate this phenomenon perfectly, largely due to the influence of an extremist fringe element which Karl Rove called the “nutty fringe”. But, “the bubble” is a temptation for any group, even the liberals as was pointed out in yesterday’s Huffington Post by Joseph A. Palermo.
The “bubble” results from the human need to create a world of meaning and the tendency to then draw the boundaries around that world too narrowly. The more rigidly they are drawn, the more problematic the group becomes for the world at large. For example, in our culture Westboro Baptist Church beautifully illustrates this phenomena but their extremism is child’s play compared with, say, the Taliban.
We must have “bubbles” to ensconce ourselves in but ideally we will have leaders who will facilitate a porosity for these boundaries which allows discourse with the outside world.
I now would like to illustrate this problem with a marvelous skit from SNL from the early 1990’s. I warn you it is course in at times, and subversive in its implications, but overall just incredibly funny. (If the provided link does not work, please copy and paste it into your browser. You will find it worth the effort.)