In the pit, out of the pit

Harry Drabik

If someone disagrees with you does that make them an opposite and potential enemy or are they someone with little more or less than a different view?

Seems to me the nature (I could play into current jargon and say systemic nature, but that that’s gibberish on par with saying natural nature) of social media scheme makes it volatile where a quick retort counts as content. This works OK for howler monkeys and passes for dialog of a sort, but the howler tactic makes consideration of complex issues darn difficult.

Instead of a thoughtful review and digestion of info we get the intellectual world of crows on a wire going caw – caw – caw in succession. Howlers and crows are examples of reactionary responses where they yell and we yell back or one of us caws and we all agree.

Around age 12 (hopefully before) a human being should be urged away from that form of socializing.

Because reactionary chatter is easy and reliably profitable for those supplying this dubious “service.”
I’ll wager that the pit outside my home will turn into a tropical atoll before the commercially successful business model gives up an easy road to profitability. Why would they question (or rein in) a process that increasingly enriches them the more they stir the public to howl, hoot, or caw?

Starting with Gutenberg, society has experienced the inflammatory aspects of mass media where a pamphlet, news sheet or book could reach and rouse a wide audience.

Examples familiar in an American context are the written words “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In the U.S. and Britain, Stowe’s book fueled a heat of resistance to slavery that eventually built a level of action comparable in the Civil War to similar to the impact of Paine’s words on the American Revolution.

Both examples were part of a longer back-forth process of decision making leading to action.

Put another way, print media tends to work more slowly.

As McLuhan put it, print is a cool medium whereas speech, radio, TV and etc. are hot forms, favoring fiery reaction over deliberation. That flaw or prejudice is obvious in and very much exploited by social media.

Why do I say that? Because I dare you to frame a solid position in the space and style allowed by contemporary social media.

Social media doesn’t promote depth, analysis or detailed comparison. Icon responses and Like/Dislike buttons make that clear. Social media perpetuates its interests (not yours) by promoting howls and caws as worth more than a hoot.

Social media is the minimal common denominator of a society content with expecting less and satisfied with achieving little.

There are things (besides having to condense to a thousand words) I dislike about my weekly jump in the pit.

The biggest frustration to me is your (you the readers) absence.

In my view an article should mirror conversation in a back and forth with feedback helping to give clues as to what idea sinks in and which gets lost or needs rescue. Talking to/with an audience I have to imagine requires a lot of, maybe too much, guesswork.

Each week I imagine invisible people reading along and I have to hope xyz doesn’t come across as pqr.

Frankly, I’ve no way of knowing.

Even if there was a Like/Dislike button for readers to use I wouldn’t know enough why or what to matter.
When I jump in the weekly pit I keep in mind some things about you.

One, I don’t believe you’re stupid or unable to follow. I also don’t expect we have to agree.

That, I have to tell you, fits well with you not being stupid.

If I were to grind my words to powder in hope of not offending I’d also be acting as if I believed readers can’t handle or sort things out for themselves. You can and are doing so now, I hope.

In the conversation we’re having I trust your experience and perception to work well as mine. I don’t mean exactly the same, but in some way humanly similar.

In any case I don’t expect you to feel as irate and trashed as I do about things like banning.

In the world of the mind (a hopefully safe gathering place) if I assert need to outlaw or ban something

I’m saying we’re too damn weak or ignorant to deal with it and need to be protected from whatever it is.

When someone asserts need for a ban (especially in intellectual areas) they are saying you-we-us can’t handle the particular challenge and they will handle that for us-we-you.

Thank you so very much for shielding me-we from life and its unfair challenges.

Attempts to make life fair, however, seem to drain the benefit of challenges. To fix the unfixable the improvers of life will go on adding padding to the padding so no one gets hurt or stressed.

The advantages of cocooning human life are lost on me, but I confess enjoying the tasty irony of those opposing supremacy by wanting to enforce supreme decrees.

You’re free (and probably should if you know on which side your social bread is buttered) to disagree, but I lean way over thinking that “we’re going to fix things ‘round here” is a maniac delusion.

Don’t we each have our hands full managing our own lives and regulating our own impulses? Is it even remotely sensible we could mass produce that process without ending up with results no one wants?

Of course it starts out we’re looking for something utopia bound. (Has any human society yet pulled that off?) But then before entering Paradise Station something resembling a police state interjects to ensure everyone arriving has the proper utopian perspective.

I don’t have solutions or answers for you, but I’ve a hunch that trying to fix things stands a good chance of not and an equally good chance of not making matters better.

A dip in understanding’s pit needs patience and a warm towel.