The more I’m on social media the more frustrated I get. People can be sanctimonious just about any topic there is. I have been active on Facebook for over 10 years. It started out as a great way to reconnect with old friends and act as a messenger among extended family. As features were added, it was convenient to join groups with other people that shared a common interest. I have joined several of these types of groups but find that the conversations within them are just a reflection of what I’m seeing everywhere.
Yes, as a Christmas performer, I belong to several groups on Facebook specifically for the betterment of the Santa community. It would probably surprise you to know there is a LOT of self-comparisons happening within this group. There are many different ‘types’ of Santas out there: those who grow their whiskers on their face and those that take them off when they take off the red suit, those with their own round belly or pad their belly or go for the healthier look, those that provide their services pro-bono and those that charge a premium fee. It’s amazing to me how many within the Santa community have the attitude that the way THEY portray Santa is the only correct way to do so. It even gets to the point of name-calling and harassments. In other words, there are those within the community that believe if you don’t do it the same way they do then you are wrong.
I also happen to drive a Jeep as my daily transportation and it’s one of my primary forms of entertainment away from the daily rigors. As a Jeep owner, I belong to several Jeep groups on Facebook, primarily to either discuss mechanical and upgrades or great places to travel. It gets frustrating to see the name-calling within these groups and the holier-than-thou attitudes by so many. There are arguments between straight shift vs automatic transmissions, 2 door vs 4 door, hard top vs soft top, modified vs stock, the list goes on. There are some within these groups that will argue if you don’t drive a 2-door, soft top, modified with a lift kit and upgraded drivetrain, but with a stock grill, then you’re not driving a ‘real’ Jeep. In other words, there are those within the community that believe if you don’t do it the same way they do then you are wrong.
I am reminded of the fictitious experiment conducted several years ago. A fairly large group of people, from many walks of life, different ages, different backgrounds were presented a challenge.
They were presented with a simple task. Based on the provided 2d image, the circle shown, they had to come to a unanimous decision as to what 3d object would cast such a shadow. As you can guess, the immediate response by the majority of the group was “This is simple, it’s from a sphere.” There were a small number within their group that suggested it might be something else but they were quickly silenced by the vast majority that the 3d object must be a sphere. There even rose within the group ‘experts’ that stated emphatically and convincingly, that a sphere was the only reasonable solution. With conviction, they determined the 3d object was a sphere.
At the same time, another group was gathered.
They were presented with a simple task. Based on the provided 2d image, the square shown, they had to come to a unanimous decision as to what 3d object would cast such a shadow. As you can guess, the immediate response by the majority of the group was “This is simple, it’s from a cube.” There were a small number within their group that suggested it might be something else but they were quickly silenced by the vast majority that the 3d object must be a cube. There even rose within the group ‘experts’ that stated emphatically and convincingly, that a cube was the only reasonable solution. With conviction, they determined the 3d object was a cube.
A couple of weeks later, both groups were brought together to discuss their answers. Half of the large group was emphatic that the 3d object had to be a sphere while the other half was just as emphatic that the 3d object had to be a cube. They each presented their own experts who explained that theirs was the only logical solution. People started calling those that disagreed with them “Idiots” and other inflammatory names. People were so vested in their own solution that anyone who had a different opinion than theirs had to be wrong.
And then there were the events from this past week.
This was not a single event but a culmination of what we as a society have turned into. Yes, we have our philosophical differences. We have different religious and spiritual beliefs. We may even have some fundamental differences of opinion concerning right and wrong, but for most of the the time, we can be civil toward one another. This is less so every four years when the presidential primaries start and continue through the general elections and the inauguration.
In the past, it wasn’t unusual to hear my liberal friends admonish others with “You watch too much Fox News” while my conservative friends were complaining that others were “watching too much CNN.” It’s really not surprising that those in the sphere crowd stick with those that think similarly while those in the cube crowd do likewise. But the events of this past week have seen friends from both sides of the political spectrum seek out even further extreme ‘news outlets’. These outlets purport to have video proof of what actually happened. There is dissent on why the traditional means of reporting the news [I hesitate to use the term “main stream media” as I’m not sure what that even means any more] won’t show this proof for all to see.
For me, it bolsters the accusations presented in Netflix’s documentary “The Social Dilemma”. If the only news you see is that that already supports your given belief and your own agenda, you certainly get the idea that you know the truth and everyone else must be an idiot who doesn’t, or won’t, see it. I don’t think we know “the whole” truth, but I don’t think it is solely at either end of the spectrum. I wonder which side of the argument each of my associations are on, the globe side or the cube side.