Facebook and the sanction of the victim

The “sanction of the victim” is the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil, to accept the role of sacrificial victim for the “sin” of creating values.

Facebook started out for me as a way to connect with family members I had left over seas. I have shared photographs and memories with friends and family alike. Lately the site has devolved into collectivist inspired in-fighting. It is no longer enjoyable. To spend your time defending yourself simply for being yourself is a waste. Some words from T S Eliot found in Joseph Campbell’s ‘hero with a thousand faces’ stick out to me in situations like this, and the only option left is to withdraw entirely and commit to other more productive endeavors.

Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses

The assumption has now been made that it is socially acceptable to heckle other family members over trivial matters, that it is okay to lampoon someone for anything posted on their page that does not conform to social norms. Facebook has now pulled in millions of people into the swirl of collective mantra, where everyone has to get on to get along, and if you stray too far from the murky middle, you will be condemned and thrown to the wolves.

The rampant self imposed narcissism coupled with the collectivist ideals of equality makes for a dirty mix. I’ve seen people who ought to know better berate their grandparents over pent up emotions that ought to have been dealt with in private. I’ve seen otherwise well spoken people blast expletive filled diatribes in comments when a post wasn’t to their liking.

Social media is a double edged sword. It can connect you with distant family members, it can allow you to share photographs with long lost relatives. But it can also be used to vent emotions before heads have had a chance to cool.

It is not acceptable to berate others in public, it is not okay to heckle family members, it is not alright to disrespect elder members of your family. There is a time and a place to air your grievances, and it is always better to do it in private, one on one.

The shame is that Facebook is such a great and easy place to connect with people. The problem is that it is like being in an arena with all of your friends and family watching you. It’s hard to grow and learn new things when there is an audience constantly plugged into your very existence.

And so it was time for me to leave. I deactivated my account. I’ll log back in to check up on some people and to grab their email addresses and telephone numbers some time in the future. But the days of me checking statuses every hour of the day are over.

The time has come to shift focuses onto new endeavors. There are many new projects waiting in the wings, ready to be started and published.

I have a short ebook ready to publish, and a longer one being written. My wife and I just opened up an online store, and my father-in-law is getting ready to start selling the chapters of his new book.

2015 will be whatever you make it, so make it a good one. Happy New Year.

Good will to all men

This time of year is always good for reflection. There isn’t much going on, and it allows us to think back on the year and judge how well we did, what we did right, and what we did wrong. What did you learn? What did you forget? How can you better yourself in the new year?

For me, I learned to hold my tongue, to take a deep breath, to assess the situation and respond to negativity with simplicity and kindness.

Sunset

In writing blog posts you come across many negative comments. It’s hurtful, and your defenses go up when you feel attacked. It’s easy to retaliate, but wisdom and grace comes in taking a minute to compose yourself, and take the moral high ground. What is the assailant’s premise? Chances are, if you’re posting something, you’ve taken the time to study the subject. Is there something that the assailant commentator knows that you don’t? Or have they simply over looked facts that you are privy to, that they are not?

There is much wrong with the world, there always is. Wars are fought, dictators made powerful, corrupt politicians elected to office.

We gain power in being gracious, being men of integrity and honor. We become masters of our own destiny when we take the moral high ground. When we fight for what is right, and respond with kind words to those who do not agree.

More is accomplished with neutrality and trade than with war. That is not to say to be passive. Oh no, passiveness will get you nowhere. Many heads have been stepped on for being passive.

After the war of independence, Thomas Jefferson opposed war with France, despite French insults to the newly founded United States of America. Instead of fighting the French, Jefferson ended up securing a deal for the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the size and power of his young country.

Good will to all men does not mean you will not have legitimate enemies. It does not mean you should lay down and take whatever comes. It simply means that you will take the moral high ground by being a man of good character, of having integrity, and good grace. It means responding with civility and conviction, instead of emotion and disdain.

Civilization is built on civility, on calm, on trading. Civilization is destroyed with insults, mania, and theft.

During this Christmas season, and into the new year, I will practice civility, and to fight the good fight with integrity and honor. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.