It’s a common occurrence: We read or hear something somewhere, firsthand, secondhand, commentary, op eds., scrolling news, headlines, and speculative… and it sets us off:
“How the #$&@ can they say this??!!”
“WTF??!” “Are you kidding me??!!”
And on, and on, and on… Our blood pressure goes up, as does our righteous indignation, anger, rage, frustration, etc.. Chicago’s Cell Block Tango starts playing.
More than ever, we’re personally affronted due to what we’ve interacted with. And perhaps it really is personal, given that social media has given us the opportunity to reach out at an extremely personal level of communication with a few strokes of the keyboard.
Trolls are lurking, baiting people for their often cruel cat-and-mouse games. But not even that, it might be our nearest and dearest ‘posting’ something that is–frankly–horrifying, or simply so far-out of something you might have expected. It may even be an innocuous bit of information, meant to elicit a desired effect, only to bring about the very opposite of what they intended.
Regardless of the source, we’ve become somewhat accustomed to this type of shock, whether warranted or not. We’ve become seething spectators of an onslaught of train wrecks and can’t look away. It is killing us, spirit and soul… individually and collectively.
What to do?
You can engage, but most likely, you’ll enter a never-ending cycle of argument that may not be worth the energy expended, regardless of what proof, reason, or knowledge you may present, and vice versa. The FB platform is not one for substantial political debate. It’s really more of a virtual car bumper, laden with all manner of decals and dust writings, provocative and honk-worthy, but that’s about it.
At best, you can present a sound argument, posit an educated proposal, or post an article or news blip of a topic that you hold near-and-dear, but even then, it’s not a guaranteed start to authentic dialogue of that topic. But if you do, let it go. Don’t fret. Just put it out there and leave. Bear in mind, what you put our there is a sign of who you are, and many there be that will not forget and perhaps amplify it, especially because it is extremely easy to do so. Never mind that you could also be completely misinterpreted, or may indeed be, “The Offender.”
As for the rest, if you don’t like or agree with it, pass it by, let it go, or simply hide it! End the source of your ‘suffering,’ because–ultimately–you’re the one responsible for your reaction and what you do with it. Blessed are those that react and act appropriately for what they experience. And only you can determine that.
Read, reflect, and reason. Study history and research-based material. If you watch news, let it be real news, fact-based and without rhetorical spin meant to incite and inflame you. (Please look up the words ‘rhetoric’ and ‘rhetorical’ in a dictionary.)
Know what you are taking in: Is it commentary? Is it opinion? Is it news or a current event? Is it bombast and grandstanding? Is it satire? Is it comedy? Is it flat out lies? If you don’t know which is which, and get caught in an argument, you may be arguing over satire, thinking it is real news. Or you may treat real news as opinion, commentary, or lies. Neither is the same.
To be honest, I’m usually sickened by what I see on the telly and other outlets, especially social media, more often for how it is presented, not the content. I’m the one who has the power to choose how I will take ‘what’ in, and how I will react. If I simply allow my feelings to take over because “That’s just how I am!” (imagine a high tenor wail), then I am at fault for the resulting duress.
The onus is on the individual: Choose and take deliberate action, for your sanity and stability’s sake, to handle the frenetic, to-and-fro induced motion of our social-media driven society. You CAN do it.