the bubble of indifference

Posted on December 2, 2014


“We find comfort among those who agree with us…

growth among those who don’t.” (Frank Clark)

We all live in some sort of bubble. We tend to gravitate toward those that are the same as us. Why is that? What is it about “me” that draws me toward that which is like myself.

Why is it so hard to venture outside of our bubble of sameness?Crystal-Bubble-Transparent-Concept-Living-3

What are the consequences of talking with those that agree? … with those that disagree?

We tend to not understand that which is different.

We tend to not be comfortable around that which we do not understand.

If we do not understand something, often it produces fear.

We conjure up unfounded fears and then run from them.fear2

American culture has produced its own gods to whom we pay allegiance with our time, our money, our devotion; impacting where we live, what we watch, where we go, what we see, what we can’t see, who our friends are. These gods tend to create the design of our bubble… our comfort zone.



The god of biggotry

The god of security.

The god of certainty.

Our all American trinity.


The way we worship these gods is to try to make everything be like us. We HAVE to be right, thus making everything that disagrees wrong. Politics and religion tend to be the two culprits that people get into arguments about the quickest. Why? Because they represent our deepest values and beliefs and we cannot stand people that differ with us.

This thinking is an illusion. We are all different. No two of us are the same. And yet we insist on being right and making wrong, being the same and silencing the “other”.


“Our disasters come from letting nothing live for itself, from the longing we have to pull everything, even friends, into ourselves, and let nothing alone.” (Robert Bly)


We are submerged within a world system that works through political agendas and propaganda using its self created tools of media, and yes, religion. Empire seeps into our innermost beings, usurping pure religion, overturning the order of the soul, our deepest “knowing”, our ancient, innate wisdom.

Can we see the insidious workings of empire? Can we see the mark it attempts to leave on our souls? … on our ability to think for ourselves? … on our deepest values? … on our deepest fears?

I had a conversation the other day with someone dear to me that broke my heart. The person was watching a news segment about  Al Sharpton, a lifelong, renown civil right leader that is respected among the poor and among the powerful. “Sharpton’s supporters praise ‘his ability and willingness to defy the power structure that is seen as the cause of their suffering’[11] and consider him ‘a man who is willing to tell it like it is’.[11] Former Mayor of New York City Ed Koch, a one-time foe, said that Sharpton deserves the respect he enjoys among black Americans: ‘He is willing to go to jail for them, and he is there when they need him.’[12]President Barack Obama said that Sharpton is “the voice of the voiceless and a champion for the downtrodden”.[13] A 2013 Zogby Analytics poll found that one quarter of African Americans said that Sharpton speaks for them.[14]

The way he was depicted by this particular news station to the person I was talking to was that he was just an idiot. The hidden agenda by having him on that show was achieved. Empire silences voices that need to be heard by slick showmanship that creates monsters of fear and disgust among those that most need to listen. 

Empire sustains itself through conformity of belief. Dissent and difference in the voice of the people undermines the power of empire and the cultural systems within which we are submerged by principalities and powers.

“Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:2)

The Bubble of INdifference is the natural side effect of living in the Bubble of UNdifference. We must learn to think beyond ourselves. We must seek to hear and understand those that are different. No human being deserves to be written off as an idiot or as a monster. Are we willing and able to learn from our fellow human beings?


Your brokenness reminds me

of my own brokenness

of my own wounds

of my own violence …
Your hands outstretched towards me…

I am afraid to touch them…

they may drag me down, down, down

into some unknown brokenness within me…

(Jean Vanier, Tears of Silence)



We must learn to “see” beyond our bubble, to “hear” beyond our bubble, to “understand” beyond our bubble.


We can see ONLY what we are LOOKING for.

We can see ONLY what we WANT to see.

We can hear ONLY what we are LISTENING for.

We can hear ONLY what we WANT to hear.


How do we learn to see the principalities and powers that govern every aspect of our lives? First, we must want to see them. Then we must begin to look for them; a spiritual discipline.

Living a life that is “comfortably numb” is not a sustainable option because the hidden agenda of empire is not sustainable.

When will we imagine and create a world that works for all?



  1. Learn the boundaries of your bubble
  2. Value differing voices
  3. Seek to understand the “other”
  4. Speak with the “other” as often as possible
  5. Read that which challenges you to see things differently
  6. Be a boundary spanner
  7. Be intentional about it
  8. Question your habits, your associations, your comfort zones
  9. Get out of your bubble
  10. Broaden your horizons


There is no authentic knowing outside of the context of relationship.

Without direct experience, “truth” loses its integrity.

And don’t forget:

“We find comfort among those who agree with us…

growth among those who don’t.” (Frank Clark)


Anytime the “powers that be” suppress the voice of the people, this is oppression.

“The radical, committed to human liberation, does not become the prisoner of a ‘circle of certainty’ within which reality is also imprisoned. On the contrary, the more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can better transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.”
― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

More thoughts from Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire


  • Any oppression “constitutes violence.”
  • “Oppressive reality absorbs those within it” (both the oppressor and the oppressed)
  • It “acts to submerge human beings’ consciousness.” (both the oppressor and the oppressed)
  • Oppression is sustained and controlled by changing animate into inanimate (people into objects)
  • This condition “unquestionably corresponds with a tendency to sadism.”


  • “To no longer be prey to its force, one must emerge from it and turn upon it. This can be done only by means of the praxis: reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it.”
  • Freire continues to explain that thought and words are rendered meaningless and powerless without action. Reflection allows a person to step back and look at a situation without being trapped within it. Individual and collective dialogue compels a person to act upon the realities that emerge as a person becomes more and more conscious of the underlying realities.


For more on “empire” if you dare: