A friend recently posted on Facebook a video of a man on trying to break a board on his head because he believed in himself. He didn’t do it and got very upset. I’m not a doctor, and I am in no way qualified to diagnose anything; however, I know several people on the autism spectrum (one of them being somebody very close to me). The man in the video seems to be on the spectrum as witnessed by his speech and mannerisms. Whether or not he is autistic, his sincerity is real. It made me so very sad to see him being shamed on the internet, but I realize that’s what this global phenomenon has come to.
The internet, a place where people the world over could learn from each other, sharing thoughts and ideas to elevate the human race, has become it’s own monster, creating a space where bullies and the insecure can shame and point fun at others. There are sites dedicated to shaming shoppers of a certain store. People are always putting up videos of their friends, strangers or perceived enemies doing something foolish in the vein of America’s Funniest Home Videos. When does it cross the line from funny to just plain mean? Why did the person who shot the video mentioned above think it was OK to post that for all the world to point and laugh?
When I visit websites, I’m inundated with advertising for porn, weight-loss and anti-aging products. This is what we’ve created. This is what we’ve become; a community of shamelessly insecure perversions. I’m no prude, and I’m certainly not a saint. I can curse like a sailor, and sometimes people make me want to call them out in a very public way. I try to practice restraint, but just today I found myself making fun of my handyman on my personal Facebook page. While I know it made people laugh, I’m rather ashamed that I have succumbed to the “mean girl syndrome” so prevalent on social media. I’m not fooling myself to think my behavior is otherwise.
And then there are the commenters… There is a circle of Hell saved just for these people. These are the people hiding behind the relative safety screen of the internet, not having to make eye contact with their intended victim. Politically, it makes no difference. The Liberals say awful things about the Conservatives, and the righties say rather abominable things about the lefties. I have made the decision to stop reading comments on news articles because they leave me with very little faith in humanity. These are awful things these people would never say if they were face-to-face with the person they rail against with the anonymity of the web. It’s the penultimate in online bullying and shaming, each commenter trying to outdo the one before. The degradation of decency on many article’s comment boards is quicker than lightening. Words are very powerful, whether written or spoken, and they should be treated as such.
The internet, this thing which could help to unify, enlighten and elevate the human race is a swirling cesspool of hate and ignorance. I’m going to try to my hardest to keep a little light on in my corner of the web where people can go for understanding, peace and most of all LOVE. It’s why I write my meditation memes.
I know there are things out there that bring joy to people. There are plenty of funny memes which don’t poke fun at another person (just cats), and in our workaday society, we need some levity after a tedious day. I get that. But do we really need all of the insidious perversions and negativity? Is it bringing the human race into the light in any form?
Why not give it a try? Be a harbinger of change on the internet. If you leave a mark on this global monster, try making it a mark of peace, light and love.