I’ve deleted Facebook three times this month, only to log back on from the browser the next day.
It’s like a train wreck that you can’t watch but can’t miss either.
The internet has always been a circus of name-calling and talking down to each other, attacking each other’s intelligence, and assuming to know someone’s entire life story by one sentence or opinion. It seems that’s how every argument “ends” on a thread.
It’s not uplifting or edifying, so why do we do it? Do we actually think we are going to change someone’s mind by spending an hour going down the rabbit hole to find our “proof” for them to magically believe?
There are too many moving parts of every scenario to have it be all one way or all true. There is no magic answer for everyone.
I think one reason we can’t resist commenting on something that hits us so passionately is that we actually think by offering our opinion, insight, or solution, we will suddenly cause the person to realize, “Oh! I see your point! I will go and do that thing you said instead of the thing I’ve done my whole life.”
In person, this might work. Especially in a job setting or a project. We present our side with the proper tone and body language so that the other party can better see our thoughts and ideas. They see the whole person (or at least a larger part of it) and often are more likely to at least pretend to like or tolerate our ideas.
But online it is a different animal. We often do not truly know who we are dealing with, what background they have, or why they may think the way they do (even if it’s utterly ridiculous).
The truth is, you are not the internet’s counselor.
You’re not gonna change the reality of this Twilight Zone nightmare we have somehow woken up in by trying to justify your points of view with endless arguing.
Fear has brought out the worst in people. No one seems to miss a chance to throw out a dig, shame, or blame someone else. Those who believe they are doing all the “right” things feel it’s their duty to lay it all out to those who refuse to be forced or can’t comply for personal reasons. The media on every side play into the tension by twisting events as dramatically as possible, making them 1,000 times more controversial.
So, if we’ve decided we can’t change a million strangers’ minds, why are we letting this trickle down into our families?
Think about it: what are your topics of conversation about these days? Is someone in your family mad at someone else and not even talking because they’re always following this group or that group online?
Why are we letting this get in the way of learning how to love our families unconditionally and draw each other closer?
Why are we not trying to forge stronger bonds in our homes to combat the instability of the outside world?
Do we really have such a need to be right?
Is it really worth “winning” an argument then sitting in our comfy chair, gloating in satisfaction until the next “thing” comes along that bugs us—the next battle in this sordid war?
I don’t want to live that way.
This is the perfect opportunity to practice being humble—to take the high road of not engaging in a no-win argument, either online or in person.
People should be free to decide what’s in their best interest. It’s not selfish; having emotionally healthy humans who feel good about themselves and their role in life is better for society. To each their own purpose.
Do we really want scared or angry people walking around—more people forced to fit all of who they are into arbitrary boxes?
I choose to believe that everything is working out and trust that ultimately nobody—not one person—is the cause or blame for others getting sick or dying or losing freedom or money. Obviously, others don’t see it that way. And that’s okay.
A few weeks ago, I watched the 2005 movie, “The Island.” I could not get it out of my head.
What would it be like to not have an opinion? To only eat tofu every day instead of bacon? To have our personality and even our sex drive weeded out of us by changing our DNA and “growing humans” (from adult fetuses—because who has time for kids in a human farm city)? What would a world be like if we were all to be exactly the way our “town leaders” want us to be, and not who we are?
It’s horrifying, but if you were in it, you wouldn’t know it’s horrifying because you would “believe” that it’s all for the privilege of living.
So every time I see someone injecting their opinion or rights into a conversation, I’ve decided I’m going to be a helper and not contribute to the problem. I’m going to ground their pain and confusion and send them virtual good vibes and peace.
Someone has to reflect and ground these endless negative attacks. I’m no angel or healer or guru, but I can still do my part in not contributing to the madness. I can counteract negative vibes with hope and strength.
Today I’m glad for all the controversy. I’m glad for all the madness. Because it means we are still free. We still live in a somewhat free America. We can still choose to kneel to protest or kneel to pray. I don’t want that right to go away.
I want life, not just the privilege of being alive.