The internet is breaking us. It's distracting us. It's dividing us. It's destroying us.
What should be an unfettered platform for information sharing and creating connection has devolved into a vitriolic bully pulpit. Everyone with a keyboard and an opinion feels the world is not only entitled to it, but deserves to have it shoved down their throats. This 'me first, screw you' mentality infiltrates and infects every aspect of communication online and, sadly now, in the real world. We've been reduced to a self-important, angry mob of Gladys Kravitzes, standing at our window yelling for Abner so we can pass another judgment on another friend, family member, neighbor, or stranger.
Add to this the proliferation of narcissists, sociopaths, and abusers who have discovered their e-ticket to a free for all of unfettered foul behavior, twisting reality to suit their agendas and twisting hearts and minds into believing lies to be truth. The internet is the perfect petri dish for toxicity. Center stage in this horror show, our new POTUS, the Id to our Super Ego, crushing our Ego into oblivion. Our collective abusive husband elected by a nation of enablers, he's an insecure, insufferable, mercurial man child with an itchy Twitter finger and an overblown sense of self importance. Yet, millions of Americans stand behind him, defend him, celebrate him, bend over backwards to excuse his bad behavior.
He didn't mean it.
They deserved it.
It was just locker room talk.
He doesn't know what he's saying.
He doesn't have to play by the rules.
The dinner bell has been sounded. Knives sharpened for the feast, our elected officials have taken to the internet in droves. No longer hiding behind a thin veneer of civility, they're pandering to the worst in human nature. The unacceptable has become the common place. The edges of decency are straining. The unimaginable agendas are increasingly transparent and unfathomably cruel.
Our president is the ultimate expression of our collective moral decline. Yet, in the digital reality, he's King Alpha. That's the problem, isn't it? The loudest and most outrageous voice prevails. Those who quietly call for kindness, compassion, and peace are drowned out by the dueling screams of the angry mob and the self-righteously indignant.
How can we hope for the Better Angels of Our Nature in a world overrun with the Darkest Demons of Our Decline?
"Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness." Nelson Mandela
From the PC Police to the Alt-Right Trolls and all of the vitriol that lies in between, more and more of our time and attention is spent fighting virtual battles, looking for triggers, and tapping angry responses into clacking keyboards. Every post that scrolls past our gaze offers an unsolicited opportunity to disagree, judge, attack, shame, blame, and demean. React, type, enter, prepare for battle.
So much of this is a matter of attention. What do we read? What do we share? Where do we place our focus? How long can we continue to be deluded, divided, distracted, and deconstructed? When do those of us who ache for evolution stop being dragged into regression?
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." Martin Luther King, Jr.
We get that upon which we focus. We can lift our gaze. We can continue strive for the Better Angels of Our Nature. We can remember that being 'right' is not as important as being kind. No one has ever been argued into enlightenment, but they have become enlightened by those who argue for unconditional love.
The darkness may be advancing, but the light does not have to retreat.