… kindness, warmth, generosity, neighborliness, and empathy seem to be in fairly short supply these days. Or - are they? No really, stay with me, here, for a minute – what if the spewing of hatefulness, xenophobia, and general toxicity is actually being magnified by a power of 10 by those who benefit from creating and nurturing divisiveness and mayhem?
Think about the people in our community – the folks you meet as you go about your business every single day. Now do a quick review and calculate how many of those encounters are filled with antagonistic, animosity. In my own world, I would probably say 5% at tops. And, those incidences are, generally not face to face, but while driving (people honking aggressively, flipping the bird, etc.). Now, survey the number of negative and divisive posts or news stories and the resulting hostile and belligerent comments you read while scrolling your feeds on social media or news websites. That number for me increases to about 50 – 60%.
And, now, ponder the feelings those stories and remarks engender – anger, frustration, disbelief, indignation, annoyance, and on and on …
I will argue that most of us strive to be, authentically, pleasant human beings – who sincerely want to be kind, helpful, considerate, and respectful - all those simple things. Unfortunately, it is the behavior of the @$$holes and jerks that are magnified and kept in front of us 24/7 that informs our overall depiction of the human race.
And there you have it. Propaganda! Pure and simple! Now, can you understand how every single news story or original post has been intentionally designed to bring forward all the feelings, to make you want to react and to choose a side? Do you see how we are all being played?
And, no, we can’t just blame the media (social or otherwise) on this regrettable truth. It is on all of us – every time we bring the focus to the jerks of the world, by sharing or re-telling a negative story, by expressing a critical comment --- every time damn time we respond, in any way, we are feeding the propaganda monster. And, let's expand that truth to understand that arguing with trolls, whether in person or online does not change minds, it only increases the desire to tenaciously hold onto those opinions.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely appreciate the unyielding desire to express horror and to resist all the crap that is counter to everything we believe in as a compassionate society. However, I firmly believe that by ignoring (refusing to participate) - literally starving them from the attention they seek – we can reduce the negative in the world. Without the “adulation,” the @$$shats won’t have an audience and thereby a platform to share their hostility.
Instead, I would like to think that we could drown all that hate with a tsunami of simple acts of kindness, by building up rather than tearing down, by sharing all of the uplifting stories of love in action - the tales of those talented, generous, and benevolent souls contributing positively to society, and in the process, together, we will all create a world that everyone can be proud of.
DRC as has the license to screen the important new film, Self-Taught. We are seeking a place and time (possibly an event) to share it with our community. Please let us know if you have thoughts on where and when it can be shown. In the meantime, here is a link to their Facebook page where you can find the trailer.
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