Even if not all of us practice the Golden Rule (treat others as you would like to be treated yourself), most people have at least heard of that concept or phrase before. I'd like to see another idea get at least to that same level, because I really think we need it, both online and off. For those who've seen the anime film 'Princess Mononoke', you probably know this phrase. For those who haven't, I very much recommend it, not only for its beautiful art and storytelling, but for its philosophy. Our hero, Ashitaka, finds himself involved in a war between beasts and humans, but refuses to take sides. When asked what he's ultimately after, he issues the above famous phrase.
"Seeing with eyes unclouded", whether by hate or by any of our passionate emotions, is an ideal that would be of course difficult if not impossible to achieve perfectly, but I believe we should strive to do so to the best of our ability. Too often we let our actions be fueled by our emotions because we get an endorphin rush by doing so -- it's a cathartic release that makes us feel better, even though it may be the exact wrong course of action to take in order to avoid or resolve a bad situation. We don't resort to name-calling and one-upsmanship in our arguments because we think it'll help the situation or prove our point. We do it simply to make ourselves feel good. Most of the time we don't even know that it's happening -- it's subconscious. We all do stupid things when we're in love, because, well... we're in love. We feel justified because our feelings are 'true', and no one can tell us that we aren't entitled to our feelings.
But if we zoom out a bit and look at the bigger picture, we may find that the best course of action is one that goes against our gut reaction. Since this requires the ability to step out of "ourselves" and supress our own ego, I can understand how difficult it can be for a lot of people because 'ego' is currency in a social world, especially online. We are who we present ourselves as. We get the idea that our importance is tied to how witty / funny / talented / popular / confident / righteous we are, and that we are 'nobody' if we aren't any of these things. No one wants to be low on the totem pole, so we generalize and deride others in order to feel that we're not. No one wants to lose a fight, so backing off is considered weakness... god forbid you change your mind or admit you were wrong.
Perhaps if we weren't so concerned with our own image, looked at things more objectively than subjectively, and were better at evaluating and keeping our emotions in check, I'm betting we could take a great deal of stress out of our lives. It'll take work, but I think it's worth it.
6 years, 5 months ago
20 Jun 2012 08:30 CEST