Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Internet has Shattered My Illusions

LaVar Burton, is an odd choice for a quote, but this is what they sent me. As an aside, my first college year at USC I went to school with LaVar Burton. He had just starred in Roots and was a huge deal on campus. I'm not sure he graduated, but he was a nice guy.


But back to shattered illusions. The Internet (the big one with the Capital I) is a harsh place for all kinds of illusions. Ask the Mormons or the Scientologists.When the internet started I loved it. As a geography / economics geek it opened worlds to me. I could see change. I could (and did) effect it some of the positive change, volunteering at the UN and with a non-profit.

But it has also shone a light on the darker side of humanity. I always knew bad people were out there. Boko Haram, Nazis, serial killers, but they seemed outweighed by the good. In fact, when people asked if I believed in God, I would honestly say No. No, but I do believe that the sum of humanity is better than individuals, so I am not sure what you call that. I believed in the innate goodness, maybe even of a God-ness, in people.

I don't anymore. I don't believe in the tooth fairy, or Santa Claus or that most people are, at heart, good. I still believe many people are good, and I choose to associate with those people. But many of my countrymen, too many, are not good in the way I define it. They are mean, mean-spirited, hateful and self-centered. I mean, I am self-centered, but I still understand there is a world of humans around me that I need to take care for.

They choose to worship a man-child that killed 2 people during a peaceful protest in Wisconsin. There are too many who attack, assault or excuse such attacks on women (both Rs and Ds). There are too many police that kill people; not just without consequence, but without remorse. There are too many people that believe putting the safety of others comes way below their need to be 100% comfortable (forget about kindness to others!). There are too many people, quite possibly a majority in the world, that believe their group (whether race, religion, nation, hair color, skin color, whatever) makes them objectively more human than others - a decision that makes the great majority of the world "less than human".

The sum of people is rarely greater than individuals. The sum of people start wars, bomb buildings, attack others based on objectively tiny differences. And they try to turn EVERYONE into a mirror of themselves. Not only convinced they are right, but theirs is the only "rightness".

True, there are some people that stand up for others, but they are a tiny fraction of the race. It makes me sad.

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I am pretty sure this has been paraphrased