Once upon a time on the leading bleeding edge, back in the world wild west, did you know that one could engage in intelligent discourse right out there in the open? Yip. It was a real place, not fantasyland. It was a text-oriented enviro, no fancy UI, just a bog-standard newsgroup geared to news junkies.
It could be termed elitist. Sure. Whatever. Which for the most part was only due to the earliest of them began at Universities, or were connected to, as Universities were the first big users.
When I was in college in the mid-90’s the term used was “information superhighway”. It was after college after I’d had my first computer a year or so, after days and nights ensconced in the world of CompuServe, and it’s insulated environment, with only a few braver souls venturing past the gates into tHe wIlD, out of the cave.
A couple of years later I was teaching my self HTML, and a year after that started designing sites on contract to a company from The Muskokas. It all changed very quickly.
But back in the old days, sure, one could expect the random troll to wander through, with there rage-filled blather, but it was rare, and more akin to poop on the sidewalk.
Yet, eventually more and more gained access to computers, and the days of rational discourse, or disagreeing without insult, went the way of the Dodo.
Today there is no recognized online etiquette, and for some, it would seem to be their own personal podium to rant on whatever the issue du jour. Never once I think ever considering who’s reading it and that all those words go out into the wild blue yonder and pop up in the most embarrassing places, and times.
I do miss those heady days when one could disagree without insult, or at the very least be engaged with others who had been taught how to respectfully disagree, without needing it to digress into a Jerry Springer show.
And, anyone else think perhaps those cries of “fake news” are sounding suspiciously like blasphemy?
Yet, as they say, nothing lasts forever. The internet is now a place of bots and trolls and the masses stream along, bobbing their heads up and down, and that information SUPERhighway I thought was all that and a bag of chips, has become merely the superhighway of complaints and kittens.
With real-life communities being replaced by social media, the only time some might ever hear a dissenting opinion would be on some call-in radio show. Most of us have little if any experience dealing with those who may not share our politics.
I am luckier than some poor slobs with no one to banter with, though, as I have D3. We disagree on all kinds of stuff.
Actually, we have had some good ol’row’s, not talking for days. He tends towards a more negative POV, about practically everything, and so I often have an opportunity to practice patience. Which in turn teaches me to not be goaded by ignorance or insults, and so his usual tactics don’t work on me. I have learned how to NOT dive down into those depths, and are more inclined to shine a light ahead, towards facts.
“No road is too long for him who advances slowly and does not hurry, and no attainment is beyond his reach who equips himself with patience to achieve it.
JEAN DE LA BRUYÈRE
Although, I admit, sometimes all I can do is leave.
And, sometimes silence speaks volumes.
As well I have always believed it is good to have someone around you can count on to bash away at your prejudices, to point out your oft held falsehoods, and questions your longest held values, you know, for hyperbole and BS.
Remember, that in the infancies of authoritarian states the intellectuals are the first to be considered a threat. So I like to understand the mind of people who don’t agree with me. Very valuable.
Threatening are the minds who question and choose to think for themselves, outside the box, and those who embrace the fragile among us, the forgotten, the oddities, the unique and rare elements that make us, define us, create us, and strengthen us.
Anyways, I value the middle way.
A couple of weeks ago I was discussing with a colleague the anti-elitist movement that has gained traction, and how there is a distrust of the flagships of journalism, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, the BBC. There are more and more people who feel those papers look down their noses at many, and cater to a most élite, highly educated set.
See, I think to a growing part of the population, anything that they don’t agree with, or understand, at some point magically becomes fake. Generally, I guess by a process of elimination, and the fact it’s easier to believe it’s not real. Much easier than wrapping one’s mind around the consequences of something they don’t like being real.
Many today have little to no ability to rationalize into their isolated world-view any opinion that may be counter to their own.
Much like those little-protected communities I first ventured into, like CompuServe, AOL, little bubbles with protective walls to shield us from the big bad world just a click away.
Up until then, much of our information had previously been imprisoned in books, like a fly in amber, preserved.
Now, information and new things fly by every minute of every day. New ideas, new research, new finds, new, different, changing.
Very scary, for some.
If you look back, there have always been those who don’t like big words and concepts that question their long-held prejudices, to whom words like ‘science’ and ‘proof’ are dirty words, and bad for profits.
They grow during troubling times. Makes sense, as people pull in, and cast a wary gaze on a world they don’t know if they completely understand.
I suppose where once THE CHURCH dominated the power, so now THE CORPORATION holds those reins. And to those easiest to sway, and who fear change, it is merely a change of masters.
My colleague then asked what then can be done?
To be fair, I mumbled some gibberish, but in truth, I really have no idea. I know that there are more and more of them. I know some of them personally. I know people who don’t trust those who use big words as if the more syllables a word has the more threatening it seems. The more dishonest. Can’t seem to be bothered I suppose to pick up a dictionary, little lone google it, and OFF with ‘er HeAD instead. Blasphemy!
See, I don’t know if there is anything you can do when people CHOOSE ignorance, turn away from knowledge, and wisdom is a thing of myth or fables. What can you do when profits are more important, and where facts can be spun to fit? People would prefer conspiracies to cold-hard fact. Facts are boring. And, sometimes facts take a bit of digging. Facts can be scary.
Therefore, well here we go, was my first thought the other morning when I read the article about the 10,000-year-old Cheddar Man, and that his skin tone was more than likely darker than originally thought, according to DNA fragments they found in this ancient British Man’s ear. Oh, the hew and cry from many a comments section.
And this bit I imagine set the troglodytes fingers all aquiver:
“The discovery shows that the genes for lighter skin became widespread in European populations far later than originally thought – and that skin colour was not always a proxy for geographic origin in the way it is often seen to be today.
Tom Booth, an archaeologist at the Natural History Museum who worked on the project, said: “It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories that we have are really very modern constructions, or very recent constructions, that really are not applicable to the past at all.”
Ten thousand years ago a lot was going on, people who had been on the move for millenniums were now staying put. Agriculture was gaining a footing in pockets throughout the world, and after millenniums of the Northern reaches of Europe under miles of ice, humanity was now streaming across a landscape after herds that were no doubt taking advantage of the vistas that were opening up.
Cheddar Man represents that time, and as such offers us a snapshot of humans at that time in Britain’s history. Fascinating, as I’ve always been interested in-between times.
“By comparing key parts of the DNA across the genomes of 83 ancient individuals from archaeological sites throughout Europe, the international team of researchers reported earlier this year that Europeans today are a mix of the blending of at least three ancient populations of hunter-gatherers and farmers who moved into Europe in separate migrations over the past 8000 years. The study revealed that a massive migration of Yamnaya herders from the steppes north of the Black Sea may have brought Indo-European languages to Europe about 4500 years ago.
www.sciencemag.org, How Europeans evolved white skin
Basically, race only became a thing when we settled in one place. And the places we settled determined certain exterior features. However, as I’ve sadly discovered, ignorance is a bliss that goes deeper, and is pervasive and riddled with fear and prejudice born of isolation and lazy knowledge. Some of the commenters I read choose to see the whole thing as a conspiracy from the deviant minds of the, and I quote, “libtard media”.
Yet, alas, sometimes the comments sections can be amusing. Past the dog poop, someone had mentioned they thought the POTUS was looking a bit more orange of late, to which someone responded that he had switched to a new spray tan, called I-M-Peach. ಠ‿↼
And so, the internet is a feast or famine of fact as well as fiction, with the amazing ability to cater to both masters. Able to leap past rationality in a single bound, and not in the least slowed by thoughtful discourse, or reasonable doubts. Actually, I find very little reasonable doubt, to be sure, most days what you find is an unreasonable certainty.
Yet, it’s never as simple as North is white and South is black, as the article cited details. These elitist little details though I fear are lost on many the angry mind, so certain of their privilege and superiority, and are convinced the libtard media is making it all up. BLASPHEMY! OFF with their heads.
So, what should have I told my colleague? What can you do to change the mind of someone who is so very much convinced that their prejudices are grounded in fact?
Walk away. In the case of the uninformed stranger, facts are not what they are seeking. No, instead it is rather an outlet for their fear they seek, a sense of being part of something, anything, that connects them to the wider world. In fact, I’ve learned that it is far better for ME to not make it my responsibility to change anyone’s mind, as in most cases the person does not want their mind to be changed.
You can not make someone turn around to see that the images on the wall that have mesmerized and defined them for their entire lives are in fact merely shadows of a reality that is going on without them outside their isolated caves. I don’t need to save the world, I’m just fine with anyone who chooses the security of the cave.
I understand. For myself, I would rather venture forth outside the cave and deal with the, certainly sometimes harsh, realities of living every day.