Another reason why we're kind of doing a terrible job at things may be as follows: Ok, Americans have a view point on things. Anything really. We all do.
But rather then letting our view point develop based on incoming information, we find incoming information to support our view point. This is our confirmation bias! We seize and freeze on information that supports our conception of the world in the need for cognitive closure rather than put ourselves in places both physically and cognitively that allow our views to be shaped by novel information.
If you're conservative you'll turn to fox news for your information and make sure to not watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If your liberal, you'll watch the daily show perchance with a side of NPR and PBR if that's still the rage. In the raging smorgasbord that is our media, we can pick and choose what information we'd like to be bathed in and can enter our own echo chamber. There are so many choices!
Rather than trying to reach a valid reality, we put ourselves in a world that is our conceptualized creation. It's mostly masturbatory Rather then being challenged by new ideas, we let ourselves "feel good" and get real riled up about something that must be true. Rather than take a different mental perspective or develop a sense of skepticism, we sheepishly follow our feelings and follow others that hold similar feelings to a place that makes us feel even more strongly about what we already thought was true not knowing how we even got to this place to begin with.
So much Bias! There is even one called the google effect! Fuck...
As a society, we can't even begin to function if this is how we all behave. If we can't allow ourselves to open our schema of the world to be altered by facts and new information than there is no way that we can come together as a populace to compromise, find common ground or effectively govern. The polarization we see in our politics, which is a major factor in our congress being petulant and ineffective is caused by our tendencies to let our viewpoints shape our empiricism, versus the other way around. We should stop this. Nobody likes this sequestration, I don't know what it is, but having such an ineffective society that lends itself to having such ineffective representatives really just makes all of us feel flaccid. No one likes that!
Let information be your quilt that is weaved from a fabric of many colors, strands and textures... Yes...Take in it's variety and complexity rather then only a part of it. Otherwise, your quilt won't be as pretty and it's uniformity will fail in it ultimately warming you for some reason.... heed these words.
Please do this as I don't think our ability to govern and ultimately function can survive if we don't. Twitter can help actually! This too!