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I’ve been reflecting recently on how change happens.
It doesn’t matter where you place your feet on the political spectrum, what is true, is that across the board our engagement with one another is becoming more divisive, extreme, and binary.
We group each other into political tribes, believing that if an individual holds one perspective in one particular area, than they must hold every perspective which is often associated within that particular grouping.
The Great Algorithmic Gods encourage us to snipe, harass, and pigeon whole each other, rewarding us for couching our perspectives and the perspectives of those we disagree with, in the most extreme ways.
The Algorithms feed off outrage, and we are rewarded for providing the offering.
And yet, for those of us committed to seeing change happen in our world, is this helpful? Does it make the world a better place? Are we making a difference?
To be honest, I’m not certain we are.
As a response to injustice outrage and anger has its place, but real change, hearts and minds change, deep change, does not come from using the tools of shame, hatred, and anger which the Algorithms are shaping for us.
Change happens as we engage with one another at a real, human level.
As we encounter one another, as we are invited to see each other’s humanity, when we learn to listen, and thus can learn to Love one another.
That is where genuine change happens.
The challenges facing our community are immense. It is naive for us to think, that shouting at one another on social media, or demanding legislative change to every problem we have, will really produce the change we need to see.
If we want to see things change, perhaps one place to start, is by slowing down, stepping back, and recognizing that though that person may hold a perspective I vehemently disagree with, they are still a person. An individual with immense worth. An image bearer of the Divine.
Before, advocating or sharing something on social media a question i try to ask is this. Would I say this to this individual, in this way, in person? And if not, should I really be @ing them?
I want to encourage you to think about that. Whats the difference between bullying and harassing someone in person, and doing it via social media?
If you wouldn’t speak to another human being in the same way you tweet or post about them, should you be hitting send?
The Great Algorithmic gods condition us to respond to outrage. They want us at each other’s throats. The more we play that game, the more likes, RTs, and shares are gifted. But, while these platforms are making bank, our communities are become more and more divided.
What happens here has real world consequences. We begin to hate and despise people we haven’t even met, forming ourselves into tribes that create divisions and harm relationships in our real world.
And in the end, this does not help our advocacy. We need each other.
Like it or not, we’re bound up together here on this earth together. Me and you may disagree, but neither of us is going anywhere.
We can fight, divide, tear at each other’s throats, or we can come together. Build solidarity. Recognize our shared humanity, and try to find a way forward, together.
It is possible to disagree with one another without hating one another. It is possible to engage in robust debate, without demeaning and dehumanizing one another.
We don’t have to play the game.
We can opt out.
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