We’re living in bizarre times when it comes to our society.
One one side, it’s pleasing to see a value as basic as acceptance make it to the mainstream. 30 years ago, things like being gay or trans or even from a different background were kept hidden behind the proverbial closed door. Now, more light is being shed on these groups, and thus making life that much easier to just be comfortable living their lives in their own way. This is truly amazing to see.
But there’s something else I’ve noticed. Just as the pendulum was thrust out of the right of the Trump era into the left for the well-meaning attempts to push positive change, a totalitarian mindset was thrust with it. It’s the idea that every single person must agree with and love every single thing done, said, written, or filmed in that end of the spectrum. Any criticism, differing opinion, belief or taste is to be ostracized, talked down to and shunned.
The counterproductive effect of it all? It’s made us hate each other.
The thing about people is we are all different. We all have elements that make us unique. This is what makes us interesting. We all come from different ancestry, countries, households, religions, and have had different events in our lives which have molded us into who we are as individuals.
But one thing that unites us as human beings is this:
We do not like being preached at.
Just as one dreads answering their door to a Jehovah’s Witness, it works the same the other way around. When we encounter a person or media source which talks down to us, demands we abandon all views, opinions and tastes which differ from theirs and spews insults at us when we tell them “No”, our minds do not change.
Instead, we push back, which causes what has now become the “opposing party” to push back. So we push back harder, which makes them push back.
This goes on.
Further pushing human beings away from each other.
As a society, this approach has had the power to cleanly divide us in half – left and right. If one of us dares to dip a toe somewhere in the middle they’re harrassed, “canceled”, and sometimes physically attacked for doing so.
Family members who were once able to at least set differences aside long enough to share a holiday meal, “disown” each other as an act of vengeance. Lifelong friends, who once shared bonds deeper than politics, become deliberate strangers. Love is forgotten. People are no longer fellow human beings, but a specific category to qualify them for interaction.
Just a quick scroll through the comments on any given article, which granted were already a cesspool before, will show just how much cruelty and hatred humanity has developed for humanity.
Civility is a prisoner of war in this vicious cycle. Kindness and understanding are casualties. While diplomacy would be an ideal weapon to combat all the pointless rage at friends, family and total strangers alike, it seems to be missing in action. This leads me to another point.
When you “troll” someone online, coming up with what you perceive as as a “smarter” or more “clever” counter-insult to type, ask yourself these things:
Does this really make me happy?
Will I really change the mind of the person who reads it, if it even is an actual person and not an advanced chunk of code programmed to answer?
Doesn’t it ultimately feel like beating my fists against a cement wall?
The energy spent on such things, I think, would be far more productive (and satisfying) when applied in a positive manner. Sending positive messages cheering on your favorite cause. Complimenting a friend or even a total stranger. Maybe, dare I say, put down the fucking phone and connect with the actual living people in your life.
Because despite whatever differences you may have, their time on this planet is fragile, and it is finite.