Saturday, November 21, 2015

Knowing what you DON'T Know

The internet has been on fire this past week. There's been lots of name calling, lots of accusations, lots of mud slinging, etc. And that's just on my news feed.

The internet is a wonderful thing. You can keep connected with far away loved ones. You can learn and improve yourself both spiritually and intellectually. Yes, the internet has it's bad side--not the least of which are soul and relationship destroying sites and general time sucks (facebook, twitter, instagram, etc). But using it with wisdom can make your online experience a positive one.

Here's my current problem with the internet (and, it's not even current--this is a large overlying issue): it gives far too many people a "platform" with which to express their opinions. Social media is the worst about this, because anyone can say anything and they're basically untouchable. And it has the potential to rile up even the calmest of people.

In short, there are far too many people expressing their opinions at the top of their lungs--or, fingers in this case. Opinion is not fact, but listening to one side or the other can skew your world view. Ideally, we would all appropriately educate ourselves about each issue and then, if we felt compelled to enter into a debate, express our views rationally and allow the other person or people to do the same. Instead, opinion-expressing on social media is basically like parking a live explosive in your front yard.

And it's easy to forget that people are expressing their opinions already skewed by the circumstances of their lives. I read this morning about a girl who lives in a $900k home, went to private school at $32k a year, and is griping about wanting college to be free for everybody. It calls to mind the heiress I invited to my wedding, and then sent her a hand made thank you--that she complained about. "I know money's tight, but..."

Each of us is colored by our own experience. That's the crayon we use most. Money being "tight" to you likely doesn't mean the same thing as it does to me. And it doesn't mean the same thing to the person who lives down the street.

But instead of allowing for these inherent differences in one another, we resort to name calling and verbal abuse--simply put, we start acting like primary school children.

There are many things about the world I don't know. I haven't personally experienced them, I don't have a frame of reference, and so I refrain from stating an opinion. I'm human--of course I have an opinion, but I know what I don't know, and I'm not going to spout off like an idiot about something I can't more fully understand.

What's more, I don't hit back and abuse people who disagree with me--regardless of how childishly they do so.

Can we just remember that we're all human? And supposedly adult? Because the playground monitor is off duty here.

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