Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Have we become a nation of humiliators?
Image by Pierre-Yves Beaudouin / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Movie star's private nude photos exposed on-line. Politician caught on secret video smoking crack. Celebrity DUI photos on-line. News reporter's comments when they thought they were off-the-air broadcast. The list goes on and on.
On the opposite side of the coin from all this is a saying: a friend hides a friend's shame.
Whatever happened to that? Today, people want to see people humiliated, ridiculed, defeated, at their worst. Like motorists forming a "gaper's block" we eye the tangled mess of humanity with our mouths hanging open.
Can't we do better than this?
Life is too short to be drawn into such base pursuits as glorying in others' shame and misfortune. All the major websites offer the latest salacious, lurid, titillating stories they can find, begging your attention to click to drive up their advertising revenue. They'll do anything for more. More of your attention. More of your money. More of, ultimately, your life.
Don't give it to them. There's a higher plane to be lived on. Like the saying 'Take the high road—there's very few people traveling on it.' Protect people from shame, rather than taking part in exploiting it. Resist the siren-like, magnetic pull of the media. Realize that these people are consciously, calmly, cold-heartedly setting out to control you, to suck you in.
Humanity is a great thing. A noble thing. Do human beings fail? Do they fall? Of course, but we need not participate in celebrating it. Celebrate instead people's nobler actions. There are good people everywhere doing good things. Find them. Be edified by them.
And do good things yourself. People are either building into this world or taking from it. Be a builder. Contribute. Claim your part in a grand vision of just how wonderful humanity can be—and ignore the gutter.
You're better than that. We're all better than that.