Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Importance of Being Ironic

Hipsters and their irony, amirite? What even is the deal?

In the 20th century, the world got way smaller than ever before, but now in the 21st we've taken it to a whole new level with almost instant access from anyone to anyone on the planet. 100 years ago you could easily go months or even years without your worldview being challenged. Not so much anymore, even with the filter bubble effect.

This is actually a good thing… The world has been filled with different ideas and viewpoints for all of history, and it's about time we as a species get around to accepting this fact. It's about time we learned to use our differences to the benefit of all. Just as in natural ecosystems, diversity creates strength, but it also has its challenges.

One of these challenges is holding conflicting ideas in mind simultaneously without feeling the need to pick sides. Sometimes the only way through a complex situation lies on the road to seeming paradox. Becoming comfortable with this cognitive dissonance, so you can freely navigate the multilayered thoughtspace of the world, is a key skill of the 21st century.

And irony, our old friend, is a handy steppingstone to mastery of that skill. What is irony, after all, but the binding together of conflicting ideas? Whether they know it or not, irony aficionados are doing exactly what they must in order to thrive in the hyper-connected world of today and tomorrow.