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I wonder. How many Reader readers have attempted discussion on social media?
A slow learner I’ve tried every so often (to fathom ideas I question) with disappointingly poor result. Social media favors reaction over discourse. I can’t change that.
Laying out an explanation of why I question or challenge a position usually gets no response or a flippant (not termed that for nothing) quip.
Looking to social media for worthy ideas is like attending a riot looking for ice cream. If it’s there it’ll be in a degraded form.
The reliable and seemingly profitable appeal of social media is its promotion of endless reaction. One crow caws, the rest chorus. One howler hoots, and, well, you get the pattern.
Belonging, being part of a group is seen and felt in agreeable chorusing.
It’s an animal thing, but being animals we’re quite at home with the process. That some of us require social affirmation more than others is well known as introvert versus extrovert or social butterflies knowing relatively few loners (and the reverse as well).
A question is: if we hu-peeps tend to herd up in agreeable congregations how do we ever get much view out-side the social box we’re in?
Might it mean that social grouping (and social media) are parents to so-cial stereotyping and exclusionary thinking?
The pit is already dug, but there’s nothing to prevent us from digging further to look into what’s in there and what it might mean.
Will you or I find out by going caw or hoot in unison with others or (as was an assumption by our early political thinkers) is a citizen expected or even required to make independent efforts of view and examine outside the framework of the herd?
Independent or critical thinking (some of the many terms for some-thing we never get quite right) is certainly at some odds with social thought or socialized justice. One and perhaps THE distinction is how much the thought and or process relies on the individual and how much rests on a collective or consensus?
We’ll surely not going to get far with that puzzle in one of my pitiful pit pieces, but the question has to be out there, acknowledged rather than ignored.
The difference between thinking as a “we” or a “me” is as big a distinction as we might find. See, I just did it to you there. I’m not trying to be clever or devious. I think it’s simply the case that every independent “I” is part also of a “we-us-ours” that is a collection of language, culture, foods, climate, geography, and much more that’s part of the fabric.
Can we pick that apart? Why yes, but why?
A dead old English writer (A. Pope, I think, not the Pope) wrote “We murder to dissect,” meaning when a fabric is picked apart there’s no cloth left. Stray threads are not much good for cover or warmth.
I have neither the ability nor desire to pick complexities to the bone of their existence. Instead, I take an easier ramp of pointing out the odd thing here and there that catches my fancy (and plain) for a bit.
One is to suggest not wasting time on the issue of hypocrisy. Hypocrites are universal. If we hu-peeps had a motto it might be Hypocrisy Is Us.
I’ll give a recent example.
Umbrage (an excellent word) was taken over recent use of Neanderthal. Now that didn’t bother me the least simply because there are no Neanders to offend. Died off long ago, they have no complaint and can’t be slandered.
(Columbus and certain others are recent exceptions to the denigrating the dead, but like Neanderthals presumably deserve it because if nothing else they have no defense. The jury is in. These ones were bad and those ones were stupid.)
The group found in the Neander valley of Germany, however, did last for quite a long time in a challenging environment, so they weren’t too dumb to survive, where you or I might be toes up sooner than not.
I doubt any of us would spot a Neanderthal thought if we saw one, not without having some level of knowledge I can safely say none of us has. I can’t say boo about what Neanderthals thought any more than I can stand by a Roman-era cremation and know what was on that citizen’s mind.
We just don’t know, but in the social scheme of things it is safe to act as if we do know and have settled the question, mostly because few wish to be unpopular enough to say “Wait a minute there.”
When it suits us we’ll swallow any assumption you care to throw at us and do so in a guise of factual honesty while in a role defending equality based on the supremacy of believing Neanderthals were a dumb and dull bunch of genetic failures. We can assert them as failures and not know if their flaw was genetic non-superiority or cultural, for example if they were greedy capitalists and that ultimately did them in.
Hypocrisy and contradiction are noble old parts of us howlers and chirpers. Expecting hypocritical and contradictory fare with much social and all political discourse is standard as salt and pepper on the table.
Don’t fight hypocrisy. Enjoy it as I try to.
For instance who knew I was anywhere near correct saying there were no Neanderthals around to take offense as their dumb-bunny classification? (Bunnies are not actually dumb, but smart as they are they make poor fliers.) I failed to consider (as presumably others have as well) the cause and case of self-identifying Neanderthals living among us today.
Who am I to deny a contemporary Neanderthal being trapped in a body limited to speaking in French and Klingon? I personally prefer the species right before Neanderthalensis, but that’s a sorry flaw in my humorous funny bone and easily dismissed except by those seeing slights as opportunities, and them I am happy to oblige.