So ya gotta please yourself,” from the famous chorus of Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party”. With today’s social media, it doesn’t matter what the topic for discussion is. A division quickly forms with one side slamming the other.
During the past decade, I’ve read the comments for various topics and articles online. The subject matter isn’t important, but the results are similar. Even with the most positive comments, others deride the remarks and give them thumbs down. Some go further with aggressive vitriol and ad hominem. I wonder why society has become so bitter, why so many enjoy trashing others, and why the art of debate ceases to exist.
As an author, I don’t post about politics or religion and seldom about sports. Over the years, I’ve explained my reasons for this, and to my college students, as well. Simply put, religious views and political views are sacred to each individual for different reasons. Often, one’s beliefs are a product of how he or she were raised. If others have opposing viewpoints, that doesn’t make them right and you wrong and vice versa. It makes you different from one another. These differences shouldn’t make you enemies, but far too often, it does.
Environments shape people. Cultures shape people’s outlook on life, too. Differences make life interesting, as long as one culture isn’t trying to eliminate the other. But how bland would life be if we all looked identical and thought the same, if we only had one genre of music or one particular type of book or movie?
Think about it. Negativity and arguments even leak over to the online food and restaurant reviews. One might give rave reviews to a certain restaurant and dish. Another reviewer then trashes that person for his/her review. Sorry, but our taste buds are all different and actually change over time.
No, we’re never going to all like the same things or hold the exact same beliefs and values as one another. We’re not meant to. Does it hurt us to consider others’ feelings and show them respect as a fellow human being?
A few weeks ago, a person said, “Don’t debate. It’s a trap.”
How is debate ever a trap? A legitimate debate, that is, where two or more people discuss the pros and cons of a topic is not a trap, but an opportunity for opposing viewpoints to be evaluated. The philosophy of debate being a trap reveals the inner fear, perhaps the insecurity, that someone else might change the person’s viewpoint, as many folks cling to ‘my mind’s made up’. But that shouldn’t be the case. We can each learn from one another, and maybe, just maybe, we can begin shaping a better world without all the negativity, division, and hatred.
I’ll tell you what. I’d as soon treat you as a friend, even if you don’t me. I’m too old for added drama in life.
Stay safe, folks.
Until next time….