Monday, February 18, 2013


  "We actually tried free will before. After taking you from hunting and gathering to the height of the Roman Empire, we stepped back to see how you'd do on your own. You gave us the dark ages for five centuries until finally we decided we should come back in. The Chairman thought that maybe we just needed to do a better job with teaching you how to ride a bike before taking the training wheels off again. So we gave you raised hopes, enlightment, scientific revolution. For six hundred years we taught you to control your impulses with reason. Then in nineteen ten, we stepped back. Within fifty years you'd brought us world war one, the depression, fascism, the holocaust and capped it off by bringing the entire planet to the brink of destruction in the Cuba missile crisis. At that point the decision was taken to step back in again before you did something that even we couldn't fix".(from the movie the Adjustment Bureau

Just an observation I thought to share. It either we are not a civil people and our bad manners was exposed and amplified by social media or that the anonymity of social media has made us lose our manners. Comments on Internet forums, sites and new media both Nigerian and non-Nigerian show disregard for others. The level of incivility displayed is appalling.  The going attitude is my-way-or-the-highway and I-am-always-right-so-therefore…. (fill in the gap). I wonder the consequences of these new values we appear to imbibe.
Everyone is the final authority on everything and is right. The accessibility of the Internet and the ability to do things at the click of a button should come with a sense of responsibility and not recklessness. We can agree to disagree but we should remember to respect one another the same way we would if we are strangers meeting one another for the first time. I wonder why people behave the way they do and I think it is because of:
- The anonymity the Internet affords: I can open multiple accounts with different names and troll sites because most sites do not require identification. If one had to use real names, the case would be different. Recently, a troll in the US was outed. This user was very disrespectful to other users. However, when he was outed, he claimed to be the opposite of his virtual life
- Frustration: A lot of us are idle and frustrated and related to above we easily pick on others. Again related to the above, the Internet affords people an outlet to vent and transfer aggression on others. For instance, someone tweets that my opinion is A, rather than ignore you insult the person.
- Morbidity:  Bad behavior exists on the Internet exists because people are just so morbid that they get thrills from hurting others.
- The herd mentality (follow- follow) also promotes bad behavior on the Internet. Nigerian Internet forums especially Twitter is a case in point. Lola that is my twitter overlord disagrees with Seyi on some issue. Therefore, as a voltron of Lola it is my duty to attack Seyi. Unfortunately for Seyi, Lola has 100,000 followers. Just imagine the censure/ bashing that is sent Seyi’s way.
Anyways, that quote is up there because unlike Thompson and the chairman tried to do, humans are not robots, we have freewill BUT it is up to us to determine what we do with that freewill. Do we want to live and let live whilst still being our brothers keeper? Or do we continue to put down one another?
 Wars have been started, lives have been lost and relationships destroyed because of the wrong word. Incivility is an ill wind that bears no good.

0 Thoughts:

Post a Comment