Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Why Now

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca  (Roman Statesman 5 BC - 65 AD)

February 7, 2021 to November 22, 2022 is a culmination of 653 days.  There is nothing particularly significant about that number.  Although in some quarters of belief, the number 653 signifies a time for people to begin listening to each other. It is telling us to treat people nicely.  And while working with others, not to be the kind of person who throws words that can hurt and are irreversible. 

Call it just my mind giving me a nudge to write something.  Maybe it was the recent mid-term elections, or a potential slide back to reason by the electorate or possibly the warnings signs of retribution that some have already expressed in political quarters.

The use of social media has greatly influenced or given rise to the loudest of the extreme left and right.  In doing so, it has created a bit of laziness in the rest of us.  If I lean left or lean right, it is much too easy to give into the noise created by the much further left or right.  The result is a widening of our ability to have reasonable conversations with each other.  It results in yelling, in exaggerating, or mean-spirited vitriol and further division.

The other trend is the lock social media has on us as adults, on our children and on our attention spans.  Look around the room to see how many are looking at their phone while sitting next to others at dinner or watching a show on television; streaming a show to be more exact.  How many kids are on their tablet in the same fashion many of us were sitting in front of a television watching Captain Kangaroo?

Maybe you have noticed while watching a show the trend to even shorter (although same number of) commercials. The fifteen second "Tik-Tok-Twitter-ish" length because our attention spans are decreasing.   See how we watch and get hooked on the increasingly non-meaningful, cult of celebrity, or "somebody-did-somebody-wrong" social media posts.  

What are we doing to ourselves?

I do feel there are many good things we can take from the internet, social media and our age of information. It can be a great tool for learning, with access to an expansive amount of information.  It gives us access to thousands of libraries filled with books, thousands of museums filled with art and history, and so much more.

But it does require we work at it.  

When I read people getting worked up over what books, history or other information is being taught, my thought is that yes, there should be diversity in our books and our history and our art.  Which means it requires work to explore both sides of an issue or lesson.  

Yet the same folks will become very single minded in their choice of social media input, hearing only one side, not working to try and view both sides of an issue or lesson. Don't block or quit following; listen and try to understand. The easy way for most is to ban the book, exclude the history or listen to the noisiest on the internet.

And where does all of this lead us?  Where does it lead me?  

It takes me down a path of trying to at least understand both sides, to listen more and listen longer before deciding.  For us, my hope is that we begin to narrow the gaping hole in our conversations.  

The impact of Covid-19 had many different types of results, but it also made it easier for us to pull away from each other.  It created the conditions perfect for impersonal connection of social media.  The term social media almost seems like an oxymoron as it does not feel very social.  It gave us the "person behind the steering wheel in traffic" another outlet to express their self perfection and rage.

Yes, it was a perfect storm of possibilities that helped create our divide, but a perfect storm of intent on our part can help narrow that divide.   If we step back a moment, maybe put the smart device down, a new bridge will begin to develop between each other. 

Stay inspired my friends!

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