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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

a postmodernist take on today's right to say whatever we want

In present times we all think we are smart enough to present our views. In fact we demand it, oft-heard in freedom of speech spiels. Journalism is now for the masses and no one dares to refute that anymore. So whatever we say on be it on penny platforms like social media or in serious journalism - they must be right, and have a right to be aired.

In essence we are destroying the egos of others whose views differ from our own. 'I stand corrected' is a hard phrase to utter. Egos -will- be bruised, whether or not the owners of these egos act out acceptably after the injury, or not.

Knowledge is no longer privy to the few who are academics or professionals in their fields. Like the Protestant movement that declares the Bible should be freely available for everyone, like how Marx believed that the aristocracy will always lose its land-owning powers to the people.

But really though, are we taking it a tad too far? Anyone now can pontificate over the internet, and so we do. But in bruising egos, there must also be a tipping point where it becomes the destruction of respect for one another. What else is respect for others after all, but about being delicate with a person's humanity, reputation, values? Which are, if you think about it, attached to our egos.

Sure, when our position is attacked, others may not mean disrespect, as often stressed by opening phrases of, "I mean no disrespect when I say this." But that is only because we choose not to take it as disrespect, and thus not an attack on character. Merely opinions, therefore merely logic, devoid of all that is emotional and intangible otherwise. Knowledge above all: a very modernist concept.

I am of course, postmodern.

But sociological misfittings aside, I think we really ought to, in plain terms, stop hurting one another with our pretty sudden free pass to say whatever we want over the world wide web. We should choose to influence, not insult; if we really want our ideologies (which believe to be true, to each his own) to make a difference in this world. Inspire change and stop bashing in people who hold on to what hasn't changed. And between that, spread cheer, humour, laughter. The social media platforms of today for our individual selves should be platforms mirroring the French salons, not battlefields or the Cold War.

Think about it. Either you disagree and feel a tad (or greatly) incensed by what I have said, because people need to divorce their feelings from logic. Or I am right, and you take this with a pinch of salt and apply bits of it to your pepperings over the internet. Or what I have said is utterly boring or irrelevant and has been a waste of your time. Either way, I know this has made some contact with you. This is the power of today's freedom of speech. Don't abuse yours, then.

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