Social Media, Emotion, Culture
Let me start by saying that emotion itself is a state of illness. We have become overall such a pleasure seeking and self satisfying society of people that passion now rules our movements. Although our emotions are not completely identified along side our passions, they certainly are greatly influenced by them. A healthy person is a balanced person and our emotions sway us out of balance. I can speak from my own experience that my most regrettable acts I have committed in life have been most often accompanied by an out of balance state of emotion. As the book of Proverbs states "the wise hold their peace while the fool states their folly". I think many times on Facebook and other forms of social media people are often just trying to bring to light many subjects that they feel strongly about or towards...after all, we are called the light of the world in scripture. But, I wonder how many of us truly even try to understand what it means to be a light unto the world and in such efforts how many truly understand human culture and the effects it has on nature and unto us all. Human culture is so complex, so varied, often so invisible that it is very difficult to grasp even for those who are motivated to do so. But, there can be no denying that the current culture has major effects on us all. And to say that social media has an effect on our sensibilities would be a gross understatement in my opinion. Our emotions are often imbued with information passed on to us from others through gossip. Gossip is grouped by St Paul right along side murder and adultery among other sins. What is gossip especially in this day in age when it can be spread so easily and rapidly? Even when gossip contains some truth, is its spread edifying? Social media along with all electronic communication such as email, texting etc. allow truth and falsity to be expressed often without any physical evidence. And what of the physical evidence or images that we see on social media? Can we even trust what we see anymore in an age of photoshop?
Furthermore, it has become the norm to see so many recklessly posted photos in immodest and narcissistic manners. Even seemingly innocent photos can be interpreted in a wrongful manner given the ambiguous nature in which they are often presented. The dangers of this I think is extremely obvious to most sensible people and yet as I stated above it has become the norm.
I started this blog by stating that emotion is a state of illness and illness implies a certain state of health or lack thereof that effects the body and or mind. These effects create a direct link to our quality of life. I will go further to say that anything that does harm or goes against life or the quality of can be called evil. So, am I now trying to say that social media is evil? Social media like any tool can be used for good or evil and this is up to the user not the tool. Before the user hits the send button, they should ask themselves the question: Is this edifying or hurtful(is it good or evil) and not just to themselves(self satisfying) and not just in a temporary way(pleasure seeking) but even to others that may or may not share the same view points and in a longer lasting way that perhaps can add some joy to life? It is easy to see that evil exists in the world but we are not created to be overcome by evil but rather to overcome evil itself. And we can only overcome evil with good. One hurdle in our own judgement of good and evil is that our current human culture is blurring these lines very skillfully to a point where it is not so obvious anymore what causes harm and what does not. For this solution, I look to the life of Christ and his Saints who emulate his life while he was on the earth. For the highest quality of life is not just measured by length of days but rather days lived without participating in evil ways. A life lived with virtue and not the vices resulting in the misuse and abuse of virtue. When we live in this way we choose life and at the same time condemn evil.
To conclude these thoughts, let me just simply say that this topic is very complex. There is no way to tackle the immensity of it within a 4 minute blog but we should definitely become more conscious and more cautious in the ways that we both view and use social media and maybe more importantly the way we allow or promote our children to use social media. For it is a dangerous world out there and as we already stated there is a lot of evil in it and the only way to overcome evil is with good. The spreading of gossip whether containing elements of truth or not is not good, nurturing narcissistic behavior is not healthy, glorifying evil in any way shape or form is very dangerous, and acting out of emotion should be held in check. The goal of all human beings on earth should be to lead a balanced healthy good life and to promote this same attitude unto others.