We/Me?

Is Our World Upside Down and Backwards?

One thing I think most people – at least those lucky enough to remain somewhat rational in today’s world – are confused and worried about is the extremes of detachment from reality that we all encounter in our daily lives.

Nearly every time we turn around something strange and inexplicable happens because other people see whatever it is in a new and different way?

For instance, a heavy picture on a wall, which has hung safely for 40 years FALLS, breaking valuable antique bowls and tearing the painting. Ten days later, the wall starts spouting water. Then the wall begins to crumble. When the wall is opened, it is apparent that the copper pipes have been leaking with pin holes for a long time and it all finally came to a miserable head.

I do not believe there has been a similar period like this ever before in human history when things we have legitimately taken for granted for decades betray us. My home repair woes, of course, pale in comparison to other examples of the basic point. Things like being able to dine in a restaurant, or the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next are, suddenly, no longer assured.

Why?

I’ve written before of the possibility that it might be nature fighting back –protecting us from our very selves by thinning our ranks to, ultimately, save humanity.

WOW! That thought is a headful and mouthful of amazement. Given the unreality that surrounds us, the idea cannot be easily embraced or dismissed. But it is the only explanation I can think of for what we are experiencing!

Closer to home – indeed, never far from reach — it seems to me that what we call ‘social media’ is the primary force separating more and more of us from a foundation of shared reality. Malevolent, often anonymous actors swarm every corner of the internet with fabrications, overwhelming (indeed, mocking) the mainstream media, the traditional arbiters of fact in matters of social import.  Trump may not be the cause of that, but he has set a pace, pushed the limits, and established a horrible example.

What might be done to counter that surely insidious process?

Our First Amendment, which correctly protects freedom of speech, stands in the way of many efforts to curb propagation of mistruths—such as copper pipes DO NOT EVER LEAK!

However, our ‘freedom of speech’ has some sensible limits –like that one cannot cry fire in a crowded theatre—UNLESS there really is a fire.

So, TRUTH in such a case trumps freedom—as it should.

That says to me that any process that properly sorts FACT from FICTION in social media, and our own homes, should/would exempt fictitious assertions from freedom of speech protections.

The we/me dichotomy is also at the heart of that problem. When we think we, we tend to be together? When we think me, we tend to think me, me, me!

The next blog takes off from there.

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