Monday, June 15, 2009


Common Sense by Thomas PaineImage via Wikipedia

I was once a member of a therapy group in the mid-seventies which advocated that Revolution is simply evolution reved up. As time has past, it has become more apparent that they were correct. This country, and the world, is experiencing the evolution of social and economic forces that is beyond the expectations of most professionals in these two fields of study. Most of these forces have been amplified by the most significant technological challenge introduced late last century, the Internet!

We often think of revolution as either good or bad, depending on which side of the argument one is on. After all, America would not be enjoying the freedoms and liberties had it not been the passion of our forefathers to start the American Revolution. Yet, the passions of Hamas and Fatah are considered terrorist in certain circles rather than patriotic.

It is easy to take the majority view, especially when one does not share the extremely poor economic conditions or harshly oppressive tactics experienced by one of these groups. We often over simplify the issues and vilify the opposition when they lash out in a struggle to survive. Perhaps there are legitimate arguments for suppressing violence, but it is not hard to understand how and where these extremist groups get fresh recruits for their causes, nor does their extreme measures invalidate their personal struggles.

When I use the word understand, I separate it and rearrange it to mean stand under. In other words to place oneself in another's shoes, much like the golden rule (Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you). Only then can we be willing as a people to listen to the pain and suffering that others feel on a real basis. It always amazes me how many people hold an opinion on a subject which they have never experienced other than what was discussed in a class, book or social gathering. Most often form a view based solely on social norms, dogma or in the extreme, propaganda. Most of these opinions use to remain harmless in the back rooms of bars or sewing circles. Today however, the dynamic of the first amendment has challenged the world through the use of the blogger.

Because of the blog, email, discussion groups, media sites, and chat rooms the dogma and propaganda has moved well beyond borders. Those in oppressive societies now have access to what they believe to be truth. Likewise, those in the free world have filtered insight into the actions of different cultures and closed societies which are considered threatening to the free world. We are often taught that cohabitation is not an option with these countries.

I suggest that the Internet has become a two edged sword. On one hand it allows free access to information, on the other, it has become a tool of propaganda and dogma. The shear volume and speed of information overload is a reality. The average person cannot possibly discern which information is valid, and which is purely fiction. Therefore most of us simply systematically select which sources we trust based on our own interest and skills. This makes us extremely vulnerable to our own bias, prejudice and short sightedness. The evolution of the Internet has the potential of feeding hate groups with false arguments and therefore creating more organized terrorism. It also has the potential of dispelling false information with well thought out arguments which hopefully persuades some of the truth. Unfortunately the dissemination of information use to be controlled in small doses through trained educators, but now any idiot can go off half cocked and fan the flames of division.

The Internet is both friend and foe. It is a passive tool much like a computer itself. It can be used to enlighten and inform the individual to improve one's quality of life, or it could be used for anarchy, polarization and oppression. In that light the Internet can take on the personality of each and everyone of us. The question then becomes which do we chose as a nation, peace and prosperity or extremism and division. The revolution is still on.

When I blog it is more often to vent my frustration with articles I have read or news I have heard. I admit that I rarely take time to consider the effect my rantings may have on those who chose to read my writings, but it is my way to journal. I only share my thoughts as a therapeutic way of dealing with the insanity that is our world. Yet, in some small way I hope it may help others to gain perspective on their world so they may avoid some of the same mistakes I may have made.

There seems to be some kind of release when I share my views, whether it will help save the world is another matter. I do know there is power in sharing, especially when it is done from the heart. If more people used the Internet for more positive empowerment, then perhaps the Internet could become the instrument of healing rather than destruction.

Perhaps I will start my own revolution and make it my mission statement to only place articles online that are a positive response to issues that anger me. Only then can I heal, and that is just one more healthy person in the world. Anyone else want to start a revolution?
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