I haven’t written anything in a couple weeks, because I’ve been having a debate with myself whether humanity is on a road to nowhere. But, I feel that the proverbial fog is slowly starting to lift.
Admittedly, the headlines flashing across the assorted screens of my “connected” existence have started the process of wearing away the enamel of optimism that I once held for humanity. I’ve been in a shell as of late, the urgency of plugging away at the short stories and other editing endeavors on my ledger have taken a backseat to, my utter dismay in humanity.
It seems that we are hopelessly sliding into the darkness of no expectations or doing just enough to get by. I remember hearing an adage from an old guy sitting next to me during a visit to a barbershop many years ago. The wisdom of what effortlessly flowed from his lips, didn’t dawn on me until recently. “Young fella, the reason that we are aren’t free is because we neglect each other.” I recall rolling my eyes incredulously, wondering why he felt compelled to share this little nugget of “whatever” with me, I just wanted a haircut not a lecture. Now… I understand what he was trying to convey to me, but I fear that we are at the point of no return.
In a uber-connected society, where we have information at our fingertips; complements of our smartphones, humanity consistently shows itself to be as my Grandmother is always apt to say “that sometimes you can be so smart that you’re stupid” we take listening as an optional pursuit, we want to believe what we want to believe as if entertaining something that may run contrary to our belief system is too threatening to the shaky intellectual foundation that we are content to lounge upon. Why? Because pushing the envelope is too risky of a proposition for many of us to stomach.
I’ve said this on many occasions, but I feel compelled to say it again, as one of the most enduring lessons that I got from my parents was repetition… Sometimes, you have to repeat yourself a couple million times, before what you are trying to impart finally sinks in.
So here we go again, social media is a double edged sword in that it cuts both ways, in that it can serve to empower, inform and connect disparate people from all over the globe in the blink of an eye. It is nothing short of powerful in how this medium has given a voice to many people who would have been voiceless a little more than a decade ago.
Sadly, social media is playing another, not so glamorous role; that of a scapegoat. People are increasingly hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet to dodge the responsibility for their actions and how those aforementioned actions impact other people. It would behoove us to acknowledge and respect that power, especially in lieu of the reality that the news headlines get progressively more demoralizing with each passing day. The concept of taking responsibility for our actions is rapidly becoming an antiquated concept much to my dismay.
Case in point…
The news headline of the moment that is lighting up the blogosphere is a bittersweet one from Cleveland, Ohio. Three women who were previously presumed to be dead for nearly a decade were discovered as captives in the home of 3 depraved individuals. At the time of this writing, the particulars of what transpired are still being sorted out, but the suspect in the case has wasted no time in blaming his victims for their plight.
This trend of blaming others is slippery slope that knows no boundaries, regardless of the stakes at hand, rather than following through with acceptance of what our actions or inactions have brought to fruition, it is an easier course of action to point to the finger at others.
Allow me to highlight another case from the news headlines, the bizarre case of Jodi Arias, who was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of her boyfriend. Arias saw fit to point the finger at him for his untimely demise, claiming self defense notwithstanding the fact that he had more than 30 stab wounds, his throat slit and a gunshot wound to the head for good measure.
Sadly, it doesn’t end with rank and file citizens. Passing the buck and blaming others is an art form that is played at the highest levels of our society. Our political leaders have been playing the game of “It’s not me, it’s that guy” despite the impact that their inactions will have on the country as a whole. The only agreement that national politicians can come to is that they aren’t at fault. For some reason I can’t seem to shake the feeling that the “art of finger pointing” is this the new normal and I’m compelled to ask, somewhat naively, aren’t we better than this?