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Affliction and Infliction of digital suffering


5 months agoBusy5 min read

As I walked through the car park after arriving to work this morning I heard a baby seagull chirping in distress and as I got closer, I discovered its sibling had been hit by a car. There it was alone pecking and crying at the body of its brother and it also seemed to have an injured leg by the way it was moving. Just after I went past, a parent bird flew in and stayed there with the little one. I asked the person at the reception to call someone, which she did.

I have never been the kid to pull wings of flies or burn ants with a magnifying glass and while not a member of PETA, I have never really understood how people can let a living thing suffer for no reason.

Later, I was talking with a colleague about argumentation and my once skilled but lacking talent in it and mentioned that I believe that ridicule, shame and guilt only work when there is a relationship that can be leveraged. What I think is that these are often go to approaches on line and instead of inducing reflection or changing behavior, it is more likely to polarize and cause a doubling-down on viewpoints - the opposite of what may be intended. Or is it?

I also think that online, people like to be part of the drama and because of the sense of protection offered by distance, screens and various degrees of anonymity, people are more inclined to aim to cause suffering for others on purpose. Factor in the fact that many people are raised in engineered environments that protect their emotional states as well as reward mediocrity and there is a digital powder keg waiting for a spark.

In many ways, the internet shows the "real" self as it offers a mask as there is very little consequence for actions performed, and no need to take responsibility for outcomes. It creates a very interesting dynamic and offers a home for those who are heartless and willing to inflict pain.

On top of this, as many people are suffering forms of loneliness, social disconnection and irrelevance in life, the digital events and topics of the day become much more important than they may be under other circumstances. The irrelevant becomes much more so and evokes strong emotional reactions that go unchecked across the 0s and 1s transmitted.

How important is it?

What I think is that if the circumstances were changed, some of the most polarizing arguments online would drop away so quickly into irrelevance, it would be like they never existed at all.

Imagine the angriest digital conversation that you have ever taken part in and how it made you feel, the emotional reactions you had as a polarizing argument that you feel strongly about transpires. Can you feel it in your chest, can you remember the force that you tapped away at the keyboard - How important was it to you at the time?

Now, imagine standing over the body of a loved one after they have been in an accident.

So, how important was that internet discussion?

Yes, this is about relativity and being in the moment but, being in the moment untempered means to have emotion reactions that are misaligned with the reality of that moment. All of that digital anger and threats of violence over events that have very little importance in any other context of life, and looking to inflict some kind of harm to others over differences in belief.

It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions that is the internet and it is easy to get pulled into arguments that are quite ridiculous due to their irrelevance and lack of commitment to actually do something about anything. If you are getting emotional over discussions that you aren't willing to actually work at, what kind of position do you actually hold - definitely not one of commitment to belief.

This is part of the problem I have when people discuss Steem yet do very little to adapt to the actual conditions. Rather, they argue for their own ideals, even if they don't live up to them - even if when given the opportunity to change, they choose not to.

For example, I have seen many people complain about not getting support for their content even though they have been here a long time, yet when looking at their content, they haven't changed to suit the audience. What I find is that those unwilling to adapt are the ones who will never have the right conditions for success because, they will always find reasons why they aren't successful.

Success and failure a fickle states as they are internally justified and when people who are unable to exercise emotional control get to work, they can consistently confirm their biases no matter what position they hold. I have seen people who believe themselves failures no matter how much support thy have got, people who consider themselves famous, no matter how little notice people take.

Perhaps this is one of the driving forces of the internet because in the digital fantasy land, people can be the heroes or villains of their own creation, without having to have any tie to reality at all. At some point though, reality always bites.

Like everything, all arguments end.
The will to inflict suffering in life is a choice.

[ a Steem original ]


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