It bothers me, but I am neverthess still complicit.
Our political/economic/religious lives are filtered, shaped and dictated by our tribe. Perhaps this was always true, but now our social media algorithms place us in a self perpetuating feed-back loop in which we consume an ever more extreme version of what we already believe to be true.
Our psychology and biology is unwittingly ideally equipped to take in this material like a sponge, allowing it to shore up our fragile egos and fire up the old endorphins in delicious tantalising outrage.
The most recent Nomad podcast features Elizabeth Oldfield talking about this stuff in great detail, and has an interesting theological twist, as she argues that the same religion that has become so polarised in the form of politicised Western (particularly American) religion should in fact be the very thing that brings us to the point of seeking peace and reconcilliation. Of course, for some that may be true, but…
Perhaps you are like me, and love a good Youtube video featuring Trump at his most despotic, or Boris looking like the bufoon he once tried to hide behind. If so, perhaps it is time to step back, let the old fight or flight stuff settle down and then reconsider what this vacarious war mongering is actually doing to us all.
That is not to say that we should not protest and resist, but let us not pretend for one moment that social media arguments ever shift people one inch. That comes through engagement and connections between people who respect one another, not from calling out from distance.
Hence, this poem;
To the left, to the right
If they are not wrong
How might it be possible
For me to be right?
If they are not bad
How will we ever know
That we are good?
If they have success
How can I destroy it
To substitute my own?
If I grudgingly turn the other cheek
How many slaps am I entitled