Friday, November 19, 2010

If Thoughts Are Things

Staying connected with friends and family; developing professional networks and building one's reputation; Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and ever-present email; computer viruses, Trojan horses, scams, and the industry built around protecting us from on-line threats: aspects of life that most of us manage daily, and which change moment to moment.

Some say that this complex platform of interconnected networks is a leap forward in human cultural and social development. Others decry our ever-increasing dependence on what is, at it's root, an artificial construct that at any moment can fail us. One good solar flair and good-bye Shanghai business deal.

The truth, as usual, is in neither of the polarities.

I appreciate the accessibility to information and speed of communications that we enjoy and find myself mightily amused by the humanity expressed in off-hand and profound ways. I'm also stunned, at times, by the chutzpah, crassness, and irascibility that frequently presents itself in this realm. The line between, as well as the definition of, good taste vs. bad is very slender, changes constantly, and is easily broken by a careless remark.

Thankfully, I've managed to surf without falling into shark-infested seas, so far. Or if I have, I've managed to get out in a hurry and with my skin intact.

Often we do not consider that we are, in essence, self-publishers with access to a forum that can be heady, self-absorbing, and fragile, and which has the power to elevate as well as destroy. It is the perfect narcissist's tool. Forever projecting onto any and all who will listen. I have found myself thankful for the 'block' option a time or two when my personal boundaries of acceptable internet decorum have been breached.

What works for one, will not for another, so I give everyone the room to either create a small heaven or dive into Internet Hell, often of their own making.

My concern is for those not fully formed; the young ones without the wisdom or guidance to fend off assaults to their fragile egos, and who are often victims of circumstance, cliques, and pure meanness. I'm grateful to those who work to protect them: the teachers, parents, social workers, and law-enforcement officials who have dedicated a good portion of their lives to being on the side of the vulnerable.

If one subscribes to the belief, substantiated by science, that "thoughts are things" and, as such, have mass and polarity, then I suggest that we all practice random thoughts, as well as acts, of kindness. Even this essay has the power to effect the layered conversation upon which most of us seem to thrive.

Simply stated: Let's use it for the good.

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