Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Other Voices > Tunnel Vision

Guest Post by Evan Erwin

I read a lot of blogs. I bet you do too. I think we all agree that there is a lot of good content out there just waiting to be discovered. There is also a lot of garbage out there. The distinction between good content and garbage is not quite as clear cut as one would imagine. Matter of fact, the distinction is merely a point of view. In the eye of the beholder, and all that.

I want to talk today about tunnel vision.

What is tunnel vision? The American Medical Depot describes it as "Loss of peripheral vision so that only objects directly ahead can be seen."

But the medical version of tunnel vision isn't what I'm here to talk about, as you probably guessed. I'm here to talk about what you absorb on a day to day basis, and how those choices impact your ways of thinking and your outlook on life.

For example, one of the staunch differences between conservatives and liberals is abortion. It is not tunnel vision to say you have an opinion about it, but it is tunnel vision to not seek out just why the "other side" believes what they do. Sometimes those lines of right and wrong are not only fuzzy, they disappear depending on the argument. We are all God's Children, as they say, but what of the line-blurring effects of a rape baby? A crack baby? A baby that is deformed or confirmed after many exhaustive tests to be brain damaged or, worse, brain dead?

And you thought this was going to be simple. And we've not yet begun on the biggest indicator of your own tunnel vision: Your blog subscription list.

It's no surprise that people drift toward others with the same interests. Whether it's religion, baseball, or stamp collecting, everyone likes to find people with the same passion as themselves. And when it comes to things like faith, passion is its middle name. So what can be done to broaden those horizons?

Listen. Learn. Read. Find blogs that you've never heard of, particularly those with a "slant" towards one "side" or another, and subscribe to them. See what those people, those on the "other side" are passionate about. What gets them upset? What gets them blogging? What drives their passion?

We fear what we do not understand. And with the power of blogs, there should be no topic that isn't written about to some degree. Businesses now blog to help customers understand their culture and approach. Passionate people blog about their interests and beliefs. So why are most only getting one-sided discussions?

In this blog-centric world that you and I live in (you are reading this blog, so that tells me a few things about yourself just by reading these words), subscriptions are everything. No one wants to be ignored, and everyone wants to put their two cents in toward whatever the hot topic of the day happens to be. It is simply more convenient to subscribe to your favorite author, one who puts the words into the ideals in your head. Far more convenient than trying to find an opposing viewpoint, that's for sure.

But it goes deeper than that. Talking about the Michael Jackson trial or the medical marijuana issue is one thing, but finding equally true and passionate voices on both sides of an issue is another. So with that said I'll leave you with a challenge: Find blogs are on the opposite end of your beliefs and ideals. Subscribe to them for a week. Listen to what they have to say and, even more importantly, what they don't say. I think you'll be surprised at how often each side "conveniently" leaves out details, facts, and points that the other may be jumping up and down about.

I'd like to tell you this challenge will change your outlook and revolutionize your life, but I won't. What I will promise is that you will be a better person, a more open person, and at the very least, a more educated person to defend your own passions.

There may be people out there we do not like, speaking to thousands who disagree with your own beliefs. But to find out why they are so passionate, and why there are so many, that is where transcendence happens: To see what you originally could not, to think about what you had not noticed, because your tunnel vision blurred your view.