Ancient Civilizations Knew Better
Debates and echo chambers on Social Media do not and will not cut it to advance from where we all are in now
The early Confucians understood mental illness as less about the individual and more attributable to communal causes. If we are in bad, vicious or unhealthy communities; if our society is alienating and has corrosive features, then our beliefs, emotions, expectations and attitudes will be disordered in critical ways – and cause us to suffer.
I am not someone who takes sides easily, but instead, one who believes in unbiased research, universal ethics, and in the outcomes of events' consequences. I, admittedly, am open to fault and question my own beliefs and assumptions many times.
In the past months, with the unfolding global events, I am certain some posts and the sentiments that I read on any media platform are truth-seeking and sense-making; real people who are expressing their thoughts or pouring out their feelings borne out of frustration, anxiety, uncertainty, fear, or simply wanting to extend a helping hand.
Others (whether bots, troll farm workers eking out a living, fanatics, mechanistic manipulators, name it) are firmly biased, lacking in understanding that there are diverse world views and mental maps, simply sowing mis/disinformation (deliberately or naively), inciting polarization, or pushing an agenda.
Today's information glut, thought to emancipate us, bred a scarcity: true relevant knowledge.
It’s easy to find sources to back up one’s beliefs. But it is our individual responsibility to substantiate them beyond the links to these sources. Care to go beyond what is fed to you.
Our reactions to posts are transplanted by a thumbs up, a thumbs down, or emoticons devoid of true meaningful action. We look but not see; hear but not listen; acknowledge but not comprehend.
I keep as connections (the bastardized concept of humanity reduced to the term "friends") many whom I may disagree with in terms of politics, economics, environment, religion, etc. But, it is in "how" we disagree or debate that makes a difference, continuing to openly communicate and collaborate to get matters resolved. These are the most important interactions between people now.
I choose much as I can to seek truth, be open, connect with real friends, hope, collaborate more, learn, grow, maintain good health, be free of worries, remain productive, create and make change happen no matter how small, and desire a just society.
As we come into what is called a "new normal," pause and think:
- Are we merely going to behave differently so we adapt to what have gotten us to where we are now?
- Will we merely do "business as usual" with new habits?
- Will anything, if at all we are learning today, assure us that all these are but a mere blip and will come to pass?
- Will we continue with never-ending blame games? Or,
- Will these piercing unheeded signals be the prequel to massive social turmoils yet to come?
We choose what we become. And the options to choose from we have never created for ourselves.
Debates and echo chambers on Social Media do not and will not cut it to advance from where we all are in now.
Change in small steps. One person, one positive step. This is all it takes. No grand gestures and actions. Small steps. And we individually make that choice. New habits we deliberately grow into slowly, every day, every minute and guided by truthful information to make wise decisions.
Those individual small steps taken in unison can be the big leap for everyone, forward.