Today I decided to lose a whole bunch of friends, a number of acquaintances and a whole lot of subscriptions. No, there has been no falling out, no arguments, no disagreements or, in some cases, no communication at all. It is a choice. With dismay and mounting despair I’ve been watching the movement into my energy space of hate speak, judgment, criticism, rabble-rousing and all manner of disgusting—and not so disgusting—images and words that, being human, cause at least a mental reaction, some bordering on emotional.
A friend—real one face-to-face—posted a photo of two “suspects” in the recent Boston “bombing” with the comment: “hopefully someone finds these m.f. and drives nails into there bones and shoves ball bearings down thier throats before the fbi catch’s them”[sic] His friends commented in similar vein: “cut some limbs off them too” and “no place to run, bang your dead.” My initial reaction was to tell him to stop it. But I realized I would be inviting more disturbing energy into my space, not necessarily from him, from his “friends” that I didn’t need or want to deal with. I know my friend, I accept he has his views, but I don’t want them in my life.
A band in Benin posted a photo of a man with his face covered in face-rings asking the world at large “Describe him in one word. Tag and share.” Within a few days there were over 250,000 comments and over 25,600 shares. The comments—I only looked at a few—included “freaky, disgusting, wonders why he can’t get a job, insane, democrat, asswipe, shameful…” many more along those lines. And I couldn’t stop myself. I posted: Stop being judgmental.
I went and looked at the band’s page—they have 22,000 “likes” and they spout all kinds of words about good works, Christian values, thoughts on caring for others. They even posted a link to their latest promo track “Marketing Love,” and again my fingers twitched to write to them, tell them they were a bit confused. Mocking some while showing compassion to others isn’t “marketing love” it is opening the door to judgment and criticism, mockery and hate.
I follow—or used to follow—a number of sites for various reasons. Interesting Places has some gorgeous photography of places around the globe and I enjoyed looking at them to see whether they were Photoshopped and if the locations were given to then research them. The other day they published a photo of North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un with the header: “Is North Korea about to Start World War III?” There were only two comments this time but they had me reeling: “Let them go ahead and launch. lets see how far they will get!” and “I say Bomb the shit out of them n take over “Kill’m All N Let God Sort them Out”…!!!” And I wanted to respond to the initial question, “not if we ignore them”; and to the comments, “stop it, just stop it.” And I wanted to contact the site and ask them to return to the “beautiful pictures” plot, but I didn’t.
Another very good friend of mine is constantly commenting on some or other page that features well-endowed women—in all departments, some of them hugely. This is a highly trained consultant who works with energy to heal people and calm distortions. And I wanted to speak to him, to tell him that by glorifying one, we are judging others. We are boxing the skinny people, labelling others as not being “gorgeous” to use his words. But I won’t because he should know better and I simply don’t want to waste my energy.
Another close friend for a while was continuously posting some sexual filth—jokes, pictures, cartoons. I asked him what was up and he gave me some fatuous answer. After that I simply ignored and deleted them knowing there was something he needed to work through on his own; I wasn’t getting involved. Then one day he shared a photo that was pure hate-speech. It showed a bleeding, European man being dragged into or out of a crowd by an Asian holding a cell phone in his mouth. The comments were all about “this is what they do… kill the Arabs.” I couldn’t keep quiet. I commented, stop it, stop spreading hate. I wrote to my friend: “Look at the picture again. Use different eyes. Have you thought that this Asian man is possibly trying to help the European? That he is trying to drag him away from danger? What the eyes see, the heart is full of.” He responded, and deleted the “share.”
Recently, the bombing at the Boston Marathon made front page news in all media. Three people died—three. Stuck in a corner somewhere and never seen on my Facebook wall, is anything about the number of people killed in horrific atrocities around the globe. How many were killed in Afghanistan, or Gaza, or Pakistan, or Iraq or Africa or elsewhere in Asia? Double digits? Triple? Hundreds? Nobody appears to care. We have divided the world into worthy and unworthy victims. First world—worthy. Anywhere else—unworthy.
Because I travel extensively, mostly in developing nations, I’ve used Facebook to keep in contact with my family and friends around the globe and, because I like to know more or less what is going on in the world, when something blows, I can rest assured it will be on Facebook and I can investigate further should I feel the need. I’m also an activist at heart—or was, the heart is tired—so I followed various communities like True Activist, Knowledge of Today, Free Your Mind and Think, Choice and Truth, The Idealist, Global Awakening, among many others of the gentle genre.
Having been a journalist for many years, I know how “truth” is manipulated. I’ve been in places where stories supposedly “blow” and looked at the peace around me in consternation. Watching the news is a circus, listening to anything spouting “facts” has me running for… well, that is exactly the problem… for where? Photo manipulation shows things that aren’t, time manipulation has things happening when they didn’t, word manipulation has people saying things they didn’t and others not saying things when they probably did. Slowly the world has become so distorted, I no longer want any part of it. I used to comment, I used to respond, I no longer do. The big picture is made to appear so BIG, we miss the little things, or the actual big.
We believe huge explosions, grand wins, and massive “survivor” episodes, and ignore the man shivering in silence in the street. The masses matter, the hype, the big. We all want to be famous or celebrities, we must make grand gestures because the little isn’t recognized. We are so keen to believe evil and conspiracy that we stop seeing good. We watch with glee and sometimes disgust, rarely compassion, people with televised “disorders” while ignoring the disarray in our own mental homes. We cannot wait to see the next episode of children being exploited—legally abused—in beauty pageants, yet we hit the keys to rant and rail against child labour without understanding. We are told what to eat, to drink, what nutrients we MUST have to be healthy, what virus is coming to get us, what is the correct amount of sleep, how to go to the toilet, who or what and how we should worship… or else, what is good, what is right, what is bad, what is wrong. And my immediate response is: “According to whom?”
But it is probably the hearts of the beholders that disturb me the most—the commenters. What has happened to us, or is this the way we truly are? Vicious, full of hate, competitive, gullible and uncaring? We thrive on “reality” shows, the “news” is gospel, we believe what we read or hear and ignore what’s going on literally in front of our eyes—not our media eyes, the ones on either side of our nose propelled by our feet. We would no longer recognize real hurt and deprivation if it jumped up and bit us in the bum.
“Free Your Mind Up And Think” I am exhorted today, and “Truth Beckons” me to another corner spouting the same “truths” and it appears in my space, disturbing my thoughts, destroying my peace because I itch to have my say. And as my finger twitches, I realize that this is the problem. We all have too much to say and we say it. And because our mouths are so busy responding, we do not take the time to think who we could be hurting, and what could we be bringing back down on our own heads.
Everything is energy. Everything. A word, a thought, a look, a touch. If we want peace in this world, we must be peace. If we want love, be love… unconditionally to all things. If we want joy, act joyfully. And this is what I intend to do. It means I’m going to lose a lot of my friends… so be it. I am also going to lose a lot of what is going on… so be it too. I cannot change the world, it has already been done… and not for the better.
But I can buy the beggar a meal, I can help an old dear across the street, I can give the vendor a hug, I can share my umbrella, I can visit a prisoner, I can dress a wound, I can look someone in the eye and make them smile. So be it.