Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Caps lock challenged...

It's pretty obvious that we are all human. Well, those of us that can log on and read these words anyway, unless you are a very talented cat or dog. If that is the case, please dear multiple GODS leave a comment on this post because I want to know about it.
A lot of time is spent on the internet bemoaning the idiocy found on said internet. It seems like an exercise in wasted energy if you take a step back. Two things. A.) The internet is populated by people. A lot, lot, LOT of people. More showing up every day. B.) People are human. Humans do dumb things. Expecting otherwise means you didn't check the source code properly before deciding you didn't like the program specs, honestly.

What most people are missing, it seems, is the fact that multiple strata of society are getting to experience one another for the first time via our lovely interwebs. The east coast can stare at the west coast. The northerners can oggle the southerners. The Alaskans can feel smug for having a lot of snow, and the Floridians for never seeing a flake of it. But for the first time we can actually take a step back and see what life is like in New York/Chicago/Seattle/Ontario/Perry County via photo, and via the words of the people who live there.
If the human mind is only given to remembering a few faces and names at a time, and is pre-programmed to learn how to behave in given situations based on their class, race, gender, religion and what have you, then it must come as a mini culture shock each time they run across a different set of values on the internet. Think that's why there's so much screaming? In every post that tells you you're an idiot for believing as you do, the words really being said are "I didn't grow up as you did, this is what ~I~ have experienced. I can't comprehend how you grew up right now, I'm just coming to terms with the fact that people have no problem with X."
That's really it. The internet doesn't give time for people to adjust to what they've seen. They're hit in the face wiht something unlike anything they've known and sometimes against everything they've been told is right. And as quickly as a mouse click, you can rise to confusion, then anger (because really most angry statements I've been graced with came from people caught off guard and not allowed to process.) Anger, on top of more input, perhaps in the form of comments, and our usual tendency to break down in to a duality about things when there's more than two sides to any issues, and you have an entire population that just needs to feel as if they're right about what they know and how they're brought up. We're clashing ideologically the second we decide to click on anything. It goes beyond trolls or the self-righteous and digs deeper in to the need to be accepted and acceptable.
When you see people laid bare like that, defending what they've grown up knowing and hearing what they're saying beyond their claims on your competency or your mother's marital state when she gave birth to you, it's hard not to have anything but understanding. You're mad about gay marriage/the war in Iraw/oil spills/liberal media? I've been in that place. I've had my anger, too. I feel you guys. We don't agree, but that's just fine. We've got one better going on here. We're beyond who's right and who's wrong and straight on in to compassion.
It's hard to remember that when someone is yelling in all caps that you must have the IQ of a barnyard animal, and I've tripped up even in this last week and hollered about my own crap based on junk like this. But in the end I understand why it was done, and that is far more satisfying to me than being right.
People are not idiots. People are organic beings that can only operate from their frame of reference. It takes more to reach out and understand that frame of reference, and I would dare say those that do are the far more competent ones than those that sit in their comfortable places and declare the rest of the world insane without thought.
But then... I've been that person, too. And here is my empathy for you guys, too. :)

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