I have taken a step back from commenting on Facebook and other social media platforms–even here, sometimes.
It isn’t that I am not reactive to some of the stuff that gets posted there, or that I don’t disagree strongly, or don’t see an opening for a really clever comeback. But I have taken another look at who I am when I get clever that way, and I am noticing that what I’d opine has already been offered, often more than once.
The thing that is getting to me most, though, is how it changes me to indulge in those clever retorts. I am adept with the language, I know things many people don’t about, for instance, science and the natural world, psychology and spirituality. And there is a word for when someone more able deliberately uses their skills and strengths against someone less able, less strong.
There is also the matter of all the things I think I know that maybe I don’t so much. Will Rogers said, “It ain’t what I know that gets me into trouble, it’s what I know that just ain’t so!”
And then, there is audience to consider. Am I doing anything more meaningful than just adding another voice to an established choir? What is the chance that my remarks will reach and influence another mind not of the choir? Who do I hope to reach? Are they even likely to see my words?
Here, particularly, several of the folks who read my stuff have expressed in their own posts a weariness and futility with the whole political scene. Some of them/you are on Facebook as well, where the parade/assault of atrocity and absurdity and falsehood is constant. There is no lack of sniping and smarm, of articles from unreliable sources, that are out of date, that amount to nothing more than click-bait playing on outrage, of declarations of problems without suggestions for rational solutions… So I’ve made it my policy to mostly share good news, hopeful reports, success stories.
Yes, if I feel strongly about something–like voter empowerment vs suppression–I still share what I’m thinking everyone should be aware of for their own self-protection. But mostly, honestly, it’s elephants and great apes doing better than expected, and kids being bright and funny. And, sometimes, just a little of someone being really, really cute–like a yawning sloth baby.
I am shying away from the clever, the mean, the bullying, the pedantic, because indulging in that stuff, I just don’t like who I am then.
Youth values cleverness; Age, kindness.