Chair Goes ‘Round, Chair Goes ‘Round…

It’s an overused and, at this point, pithy saying but it’s true: History repeats itself.

A lot.

Like, a disgusting amount.

I was thinking about this the other day as I contemplated Social Media. I know that sounds really high and academic, but I was basically scrolling through Facebook tutting at some of the things people share and some of the things people post at all.

NO ONE CARES

NO ONE CARES

I had to go back to 2010 to find something like that for a simple joke and I admit to being more than a little proud of that. I make it a point to treat Social Media like a public space, I don’t go around naked yelling obscenities on it (no matter how much I want to) because you never know where it will end up.

At the same time, I try not to use it like my personal diary for the world to see.

That is what this blog is for.

Seriously, though, so much of what I see people do on Facebook is stuff people have been doing all throughout history but in different ways.

Take, for example, that person you know whose web presence is carefully curated. Their posts all follow a particular theme or their Instagram shows a very particular view of their life/interests. That’s nothing new. Read literally any book about Victorian or Georgian England and then come back and tell me that showing a very carefully curated public persona is at all new. Better yet, watch the BBC show Keeping Up Appearances.

Then of course you have your types who only ever post pithy counter-culture stuff. A/k/a modern Oscar Wildes.

You have the type of people who share and get enraged by the most obvious of internet hoaxes and the people who craft the internet hoaxes. That nonsense has been going on long before Orson Welles scared the hell out of everyone with his broadcast of War of the Worlds.

I could go on.

On the one hand, I find it ever so slightly comforting that despite the fast paced change of late, people still seem to do what people have always done. On the other hand, I find it incredibly depressing because people are awful and for Christ’s sake, haven’t we learned yet?

CAN WE EVEN LEARN?

CAN WE EVEN?

I hope we can but realistically, I think some of the basic fundamentals of human behaviour are here for good and maybe there’s a reason for that.

There had better be a reason for that.

I don’t really believe in a higher power, but I like to think that things have reasons behind them of some kind. Perhaps, the reason that some of the shitty aspects of human behaviour are so hard to get rid of is that we need some kind of toned down version of them just to get by.

You can’t survive in a world if you’re considering everyone else always at all times. It’s a nice idea but I just don’t think it’s doable because our brains aren’t really meant to function that way. We only have so much mental capacity and while there is enormous room for compassion and empathy, we also have to be a little selfish or we’d never take care of ourselves and that would destroy us.

Personally, I find that I can’t be good to other people if I’m a mess because if I can’t function, I can’t give any part of myself to someone else. So maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s why everyone is still born with a seed of human failure in them and depending on the circumstances and family you are born into, it either flourishes into a failure forest or it stays a little sapling, growth stunted by the other plants within you.

Not sure where the plant metaphor came from, but I think it’s strangely apt because the thing about plants is that they respond to their environment. Fundamentally, I think that’s what people do.

We are the sum of our education (both academic, emotional, and real world) and our circumstances (our opportunities, experiences, etc.). When we’re kids, it’s largely up to our parents or guardians to nurture the parts of us that they want to see grow strong…as adults, it’s really up to ourselves.

If nothing else, I think Social Media can be an interesting glimpse through the window of someone’s life. Not necessarily because of what they post, but because of how they choose to present themselves.  That person you know whose web presence is carefully curated might do that because they’re insecure about showing who they really are, or because that’s the part of them they want people to acknowledge. Your types who only ever post pithy counter-culture stuff might do that because they like the challenge in it, or because they’re insecure, or because they like starting intense and lively discussions.

The only way to know the reasons behind how people act online is to get to know them and see where that piece fits into the rest of the puzzle and I think it’s all too easy to forget that, which can lead to people looking down on the way some people choose to use Social Media.

People looking down on one another for arbitrary reasons is nothing new, either. Just look at literally any period of human history.

So, as pithy and cliché as it is: History Repeats Itself.

Or, in the immortal words of Homer Simpson:

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Posted on November 5, 2015, in Serious Life Stuff and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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