With the advent of the Internet, words fly like missiles. They aim for targets and they explode on contact with the assailant never having to deal with the aftermath. In fact, the assailant never has to be known. It is a form of transcendent terrorism.
Harsh words? Think about it. At the end of this post you can remain anonymous and blast me for what I have said that did not cohere with your worldview. You could call me a bigot, a hate mongerer, lude, an irreverent, evil man. You don’t have to have rationale for saying such things, you just clickety-click on the keyboard and there it is forever recorded in the annals of this blog.
Does this upset me? On several levels. I love the fact that we have freedom of speech. I love the fact that what I type is free from indictment. I love the fact that you, my readers, can respond and help sharpen me. Freedom of speech is a gift…but respect owed to persons is not diminished by the fact that you have that freedom. Our freedom extends only as far as one is not hurt. In a different sphere, our freedom as persons does not extend to our physically hurting someone. If this is the case for physical, should this not also include verbs and nouns that denigrate and marginalize?
1) Imagine you get a letter in the mail saying, “You’re an idiot! Signed, Anonymous.” I would like to know a) Who wrote it and b) Why I am an idiot.
Reason is one of the things that separate us from animals. We can communicate nuanced arguments and understand them. We can be changed via these arguments.
2) What the anonymous note communicates is the fact that someone does not have the integrity to stand behind what they say. We live in a culture where people will use emotionally charged language with no foundation on which to stand. Why? Well, we are emotional beings. Whether we like it or not, we do not operate our lives from sound reason all the time. We make decisions based on experience/feelings and whether something or someone hurt those feelings.
3) When this happens we instinctively react, though we know in the back of our minds there is no rationale for what we are saying (other than we are wounded). So like a cornered cat, we lash out and don’t care who we hurt.
4) As humans we have the ability and gift to think. Take this as an admonition to think before you type. Communication is something we should not take too lightly, for we will be judged for every word that comes out of our mouth. The choice is whether your words will be bring healing to others – and so justification to you – or wound others – and so condemn you. We can help each other understand through our words. Don’t waste them.
I am taking off the screening feature whereby you had to get a Blogger account as a catalyst for discussion and to open the door to more people.
Thus, thus, thus the policy is:
1) Comment as much as you’d like
2) Put your name, or some way to contact you (if even just through your blog)
3) Think before you type…seek to understand and explain