A “Facebook friend” posted this today and it made me sad.
“Say what you will, maybe I’m a pessimist, but it kind of seems like people are inherently awful. Yes, there are good people, but aren’t they often motivated by outside forces (God, morality, opinions of others, etc.) to be good?” –a Facebook Friend
An open letter to a Facebook friend…
I know we’re merely “Facebook friends” and I’m of another generation (times two – ack!) and I’m probably breaching 85 rules of social media etiquette, but you invited folks to “say what you will”.
I could not disagree with your statement more.
I believe far more people are inherently good than not and that they will evince that goodness most often if less affected by “outside forces”. I believe the outside forces have grown in volume and subsequent influence over us in my lifetime and while I revel in having immediate access to the entire Oxford English Dictionary (something I used to have to drive to the public library and find a parking place to access), over 10K songs on my ITunes shuffle, 200+ channels of cable TV (on which, much of the time, the Spectrum monster commercials are the most appealing options), three major 24/7/365 news channels repeating the same panel discussions, opinions, and guesses every hour – very like a 1960’s AM radio station, and IMDB at my fingertips no matter where I am on Earth to settle those burning arguments (wagers) like; “Was Alex d’Arcy French or Egyptian?” (by the way, he was both), aside from access to the OED, I’m not sure these outside forces have made me a better person.
I think, in most situations, we know on a cellular level how to behave. We know how to treat other people. We understand the sheer “mathematics” of the Golden Rule. But these things we know get drowned out by outside forces…and others’ expectations.
How, today, can we reason with our inner decency when our hands are filled with pads, pods, and phones and our ears are filled with buds? Our inner voices are outvoted every waking instant. A friend of mine is fond of pointing out; “We are entertaining ourselves to death.” (Man, I wish I’d said that.)
Simply put; I believe we are good and the outside forces tend to deflect and misdirect and confuse that goodness.
That said, I don’t believe you’re a pessimist……but you’re damn sure acting like one.
Turn off the devices for a moment – not forever – don’t panic – for a moment.
Listen to what you know is right.
Save the world.
Geezer rant over.