I don’t post my opinions on my social media accounts anymore. In fact, I don’t use social media platforms that much at all, and YES, that was a conscious choice.
It was not easy. It took a lot of willpower and constant reminders to myself that I don’t have to speak my mind every time something happens or when a certain piece of news breaks. Not everyone would care about what I say, and those who do most likely think the same way as I do and probably it’s just me preaching to the converted.
Having sociopolitical discussions online is like taking recreational drugs. It’s like that thing that makes you feel really good but kills you really slowly as you take it. It feels so good that you don’t care anymore and you just can’t stop because you only care about the good feeling as your body withers away slowly.
I just got tired of all of it. Tired of all the conflict and all the childish bickering online. I’m fed up with the people who can only talk trash behind a keyboard. I’m tired of everyone just trying to be right all the time.
In such discussions, there are different kinds of people that you can meet and I’ve listed a few below:
- The people who follow the news, read the statistics, and generally know what they’re talking about.
- The people who only know the news through the headline and act like they’ve read the entire thing. (a.k.a. clickbait victims)
- The people who do not watch the news, do not read, but get their news from hearsay. (a.k.a. gossip ghosts)
- The people who are blinded by the side that they took at some point and do not want to be proven wrong, either due to blind loyalty or because they’ve invested way too much time and/or effort on the idea that they don’t want to challenge the idea that they might be wrong. (a.k.a. cult member)
- The people who act like they’re good at everything when in fact they don’t even know what they’re talking about (a.k.a. professors from Facebook University)
- The people who just want to instigate a riot of some sort. (a.k.a. trolls)
- The people who always think that certain people in power lie all the time and are actually out to get us all. (a.k.a. conspiracy theorists)
- The people who are too gullible for their own good and would just believe whatever they’ve read in the comments section.
- The people who want to be heard even though they don’t know anything about the contents of the article because they only use Facebook Free so they can see neither the image included in the post nor the article referred to by the link.
- The people (?) who post about financial scams and irresponsibly share sex-related material.
- The people who actually read the articles but still don’t get it.
- The people who joined the discussion aiming to be educated about the issue, but instead got caught in a crossfire between factions who try to prove each other wrong.
- The people who do not need to read the news because they’re directly affected by whatever’s in the news.
Whichever one you are in this list, whoever you are, whatever you do, I would like to appeal to your humanity and humbly ask to stop the madness.
We are all having a tough time. We are all trying to live better lives. We all have our own hopes and dreams and we all have our own crosses to bear. Giving each other a tough time does not help anyone, not even you. It doesn’t matter if you’re “claiming” that you’re a good person in real life. Whatever kind of person you are when no one sees you reflect on who you really are. Ever thought that whoever you are online might be who you actually are? It’s so easy to be rude when you’re not facing the person you’re talking to, after all.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re right or wrong. Animosity never helped anyone to convince others that a certain idea is better. Humans, ultimately the proud ones, will never back down when they’re confronted with a conflicting thought.
How should it be done, you might ask. Honestly, I don’t know the answer. But I do know one thing: this madness has to stop, and it will only stop if we all work together.
Here’s something to think about. Think about the reasons why you’re not in favor of something or some idea. If you dig deep enough, you will find out that it’s all because of fear. Fear that other people might not have everyone’s best interest in mind. Fear that other people might be making a big mistake. Fear that other people might be plotting to take away your stuff. Fear that someone might be out to get you. Fear that you might be proven wrong.
With these things in mind, what if I tell you that everyone thinks the same way? They are afraid of the other side too. Maybe they’re afraid of you too? It’s not impossible if you think about it. It may not be you specifically, but your beliefs in general.
Humans and other living things with an ability to think can be easily manipulated through fear. Sheep can be herded by using their fear of being hurt. In the same way, this is how humans are being controlled by the system. We are being controlled through our fears.
Being creatures of habit, certain figures of significant power always persist to shove into our heads the idea that our standards of living are under attack by those who oppose their ideas. It doesn’t matter if you’re team red or team yellow or team whatever. Whichever side you might be, the message is the same: the other side does not have your best interest in mind.
It should not be a problem, ideally speaking. After all, we live in a free country and a free world (well… depends on who you ask). A typical discourse is appropriate in modern society. People in power can say whatever they want. Similarly, people not in power can say whatever they want. That’s democracy for you, and free speech is a right, not a privilege.
The problem starts when whichever side claims to be correct and also claims that the other side is not, without any appropriate shreds of evidence or counterpoints. It eventually devolves into a messy debate of who is right or wrong.
In fact, we’re even lucky if we get a legitimate debate. These days, it’s all about ad hominem attacks, derogation of the other side’s upbringing, and death threats thanks to a bunch of imbeciles with no sense of respect or decency that jumped into a discussion intended for mature minds.
Each side thinks they’re an elite set of thinkers while the other side is a bunch of uneducated subhuman beings. Do you know who else in history had this train of thought? Nazis. I don’t even have to elaborate on this one.
This is all happening and yet we all have the same idea of what we deserve. Think about it. What do we want, really? A good life for all people? Eat at least three times a day? Send our children to a good school? Perhaps a good-paying job? Maybe have some time to take a break, relax, and not worry about where we’re going to get the money for our food tomorrow. Probably even an assurance that when we get sick, we don’t end up with huge amounts of debt. This can go on and on. But I hope you get the idea.
We have the same ideas of what we deserve. Now, why are we fighting again? What are we fighting about? How did we end up this way when we have everyone’s best interests in mind? Why can’t we focus on what we all deserve and focus less on what a few powerful people choose for us? Why can’t we stop and think about other people for just a bit? What kind of lives are they living in? What struggles are they having day by day?
We can all say all the harshest and meanest words, we can belittle and dehumanize those who have different opinions than us, we can even fearmonger all day and all night. But I hope that eventually, you will realize, whichever type of person you are, that at the end of the day, you haven’t really achieved anything but to gain more hate in your life. If that’s what you’re trying to achieve, CONGRATULATIONS, but I believe not everyone is like you.
Some people just want to live.
Bien is a software engineer for more than 10 years, focusing on Microsoft .NET technology. He developed solutions ranging from embedded systems to accounting systems. He spends his free time trying to understand the world and its people.