Are We Blinded By Stars?

Have we lost our grip on reality to such an extent that we actually believe we know these rich and famous people that appear on stage and screen and therefore feel justified in scrutinizing their every word and gesture? No, even that doesn’t add up because we don’t do that to the people we do actually know. 

I read the other day that a woman I’d never met said something mean to this other woman; are you gripped? Are you on the edge of your seat? Do you want to hear more? No, of course not because it’s a really godawful, boring story. What if I mention the names of the two women involved: Roseanne Barr and Valerie Jarrett, are you interested now?

Small conflictThe essence of this story is that one famous woman said something utterly childish and insulting about another woman on Twitter and yet it is all over the news with even the President of the United States commenting on it…….WHY??? In the same week another woman I’m sure that none of us have never met called another woman none of us could claim to be friends with a c**t and, again, its in news reports all over the world, complete with in depth analysis by journalists and commentators.

In the same week a truck ploughed into a group of people who were celebrating Labour Day in the Bahamas, killing 4 and injuring another 21; did you hear about it? It was also reported that over 4,500 died last year in Puerto Rico but did that pop up on your timeline?

Shootings As RoutineThe Times newspaper, that bastion of UK journalism, has a headline today which looks, in depth, at the story behind a footballer’s latest tattoo. This is another story that has dominated traditional and social media alike this week because the tattoo was of a gun. Had the tattoo been on the leg of any ordinary moral I am pretty sure that most people wouldn’t have batted an eyelid but, because it appeared on Raheem Sterling it was big ‘news’. Of course, while everyone is debating the rights and wrongs of having a tattoo of a gun, people are actually being shot and killed, families are losing people that they love.

Brad and angelineI suppose my question to you is why have we all become so obsessed with celebrities and the minutiae of their lives to such an extent that World headlines become dominated by a few ill chosen words or a new tattoo. If one of our friends insulted someone in the way that Roseanne Barr did what would we do? Call her out, tell her not to be so childish and move on? Or would we want to discuss they whys and the wherefores with every single person that we met? Would we then expect all of those people to take sides and continue said argument with all their friends? I’m guessing not so, if the real world doesn’t work like that, why oh why does Celebrity World? Is it a distraction? Puerto Rico Hurricane MariaAre we so afraid of the real world around us and the destruction and violence that takes place within it that we have immersed ourselves in a virtual world where a single word or action can cause controversy and moral outrage?

Maybe our own lives are so boring that we look to Celebrity World to furnish us with the gossip that’s missing from our world? Have we lost our grip on reality to such an extent that we actually believe we know these rich and famous people that appear on stage and screen and therefore feel justified in scrutinizing their every word and gesture? No, even that doesn’t add up because we don’t do that to the people we do actually know. 

I really don’t know why this is happening but I do feel that, with our eyes blinded by stars, we are stumbling around in the dark and missing the really important things that are happening around us. What do you think?

Lisa

x

 

Be Selfish, we’re Nicer that Way

In conclusion, I say that we should be kind to everyone around us but we should focus more on ourselves as individuals to break this damaging and dangerous mob mentality that we see everywhere these days; in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with being selfish and there’s nothing better than individual responsibility. Do you agree?

What’s wrong with being selfish? I’m not saying don’t think about other people; we can be kind, generous and empathetic but what’s wrong with putting ourselves first? It seems as though we are constantly being encouraged by the media (social and otherwise) and politicians to think and feel as a collective rather than as individuals and I wonder if this is doing more harm than good….

Kids playingAs children, we naturally think of our own well-being; when we are hungry we want to eat, when we want to play, we play. It never enters our minds to consider whether our parents are hungry or whether they’ll enjoy throwing a ball 500 times in a row just so we can have the pleasure of learning to catch it. We naturally don’t discriminate as children; we don’t care what colour skin our playmates have, where they live, whether their parents are straight or gay. We may be curious but we don’t judge, if the new kid is happy throwing a ball, we’re happy to play with them, it’s never any more complicated than that.

Bearing this is mind, how is it that, as adults, we become discriminatory and intolerant of those that we perceive as being different from ourselves? Some of it will be learned behaviour stemming from the attitudes of our parents and siblings but some of it will be as a result of being ‘grouped’ with others. In school children are invariably separated according to ability and sometimes by gender, for physical education for example; there are also separate social groups for boys and girls such as scouts and girl guides. None of this is going to cause a problem as long as we retain our individuality but problems can start if the group develops a ‘pack’ mentality i.e. they start thinking and acting as a collective rather than as individuals.

Girls bullyingOne strong voice in a group can influence the rest to such an extent that they will begin to view themselves as ‘different’ to other groups, from there a progression towards ‘superior’ follows naturally and, before long, we begin to see bullying of one group’s members by the members of another. These are the same children that, a few years before, saw no fundamental differences between themselves and their peers but now have strong feelings of dislike or even hatred towards others based on the directives of the collective….

With the growth of social media especially, communication between groups has become much easier and, as a result, their voices have become louder. On-line bullying is becoming more and more prevalent but also more vicious as ‘packs’ find more and more ingenious ways to hide their individual identities. This is a genuine example of pack mentality or mob mentality, if you will, amongst children:

Ryan Halligan: Poughkeepsie, New York
An autistic thirteen year old that’s sweet as can be just trying to make it through the days became a prime target of cyberbullying. Going through his days, and like any boy, he had that one crush. This girl that he had his eye on, had stuck up for him for a while but soon became the main bully. She pretended to like him and then made fun of him and said, she would never like a guy like him. As his pain got worse, he had a pen pal that was encouraging him to end his life. Ryan became so hurt, the he hung himself. All because of cyber-bullies.

Gender diversity formThis type of behaviour is rare between individuals; in a one on one situation, unless one party is a psychopath or sociopath, bullying of this kind doesn’t really happen but it’s becoming more and more common as we move away from the individual to focus on the collective. In the last few years, in the name of promoting tolerance, its seems as though Governments and the media have created more groups than ever; we are now separated by gender, by sexual orientation, by religion, according to political ideals, by ethnicity etc etc and all these collections of individuals are afforded legal rights and protections but why should these be applied to groups according to their differences, why do we need separate laws? Shouldn’t the laws of the land apply to all individuals regardless of their different characteristics?

All of these groups, many of which have grown under the banner of ‘equality’ have activists amongst their membership who will promote their groups rights above the rights of all others. In times gone by this sort of promotion, which also becomes a quest for support and followers, would have been done by the distribution of leaflets or standing at Speakers Corner, it was difficult to gain momentum then but, these days, one click of a button and your message is online instantly. Unfortunately, it seems as though the whole world is now caught up in the social media feeding frenzy and even celebrities that, one would hope, are role models for today’s youth are perpetuating the myth that it’s socially acceptable to abuse, threaten or verbally attack someone as long as it’s not done face to face. These tweets alone will have created spin off groups who will side with one celebrity or the other and yet more dislike and antagonism will be created.

CELEBRITY TWEETSWith the likes of Twitter people can separate into groups still further, for instance, feminists now divide between radical feminists, trans-feminists, trans-exclusionary radical feminists and so on and so forth. In theory they should all be working together as they have the same goals, equality for women, but instead, they fight amongst themselves, threaten violence and, in some cases, carry out violent acts. Why? Because they’ve stuck a label on themselves which sends out two different messages at the same time:

“I am different (and therefore special) but I belong to this group of people who all think in the same way as me (and is therefore more powerful than me as an individual)”.

However, a group is only as radical as its most radical members and these individuals tend to promote mob mentality as a means to their own ends. One of the ways that they do this is to encourage their members to view themselves as ‘victims’ of persecution by another group; if you perceive yourself as a victim and therefore threatened in someway, the natural response is ‘fight or flight’. This article which is aimed at American teenagers tells of a psychiatrist who believes that post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be passed down through generations and that black children today could be adversely affected by the experiences of their ancestors, many of whom were violently abused as slaves. Whether there is any real basis for this assertion I really don’t know but I can’t help wondering who it will benefit? Descendants of slaves may believe that they should feel emotionally disturbed because it in someway shows respect to their ancestors. Non black people may believe that they should feel guilty about the atrocities that their ancestors carried out but no-one can change what happened in the past. Wouldn’t a better response be to focus on the present and acknowledge that racism is far less widespread than it was even 20 years ago? Aren’t we better served as a species by recognising the things that we have in common rather than the things that separate us?

Labels are for clothes

Human beings are essentially not so different from many other animals insomuch as they prefer to be in a group rather than alone but our thoughts are that much more complex than other species and our ability to share those thoughts is far greater now than at any other time in history. However, it seems to me that, rather than bringing people together, modern technology is ensuring that the beauty of the individual is being over-looked in favour of the ‘rights’ of the group. Even politicians are getting in on the act with slanging matches rather than policy statements being the order of the day!

In conclusion, I say that we should be kind to everyone around us but we should focus more on ourselves as individuals to break this damaging and dangerous mob mentality that we see everywhere these days; in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with being selfish and there’s nothing better than individual responsibility. Do you agree?

xx

Ps. Having just read back through all of this I wonder if losing our individuality will be the cause of our downfall or whether humanity will eventually self-destruct thanks to Social Media……..

#Not Waving But Drowning

It begs the question would Twitter would be so popular if tweets were not ‘liked’ or re-tweeted and if people could not follow each other? If that were the case people would just be airing their views based on their own moral standards and not as a way to gain acceptance or approval from others………..

“I was much further out than you thought   And not waving but drowning”.

This line from the poem by Stevie Smith seems, for me, to sum up many of the posts that we see on Twitter these days. Social media seems to have opened the floodgates for people to share their deepest thoughts and feelings, be they negative or positive, without restraint. What we have ended up with is a section of society who are so absolutely desperate for their voices to be heard that it’s pitiful. Abuse, bullying and foul language are common place and, in some instances, actively encouraged but why?

There are accounts which have obviously been set up to try and promote hope, tolerance and positivity twitter positivebut, unfortunately, they are far outweighed by those which seems to serve no purpose other than to stir up anger and hatred in others. DWPm_5oWkAETuiG I wonder what that says about the owner of the account?

People who are happy with themselves and their lives are rarely unkind to others so how low must someone’s self-esteem be for them to constantly hit out? The vast majority of people look for attention from others and what better way to get it than on Twitter? You receive a notification when someone ‘likes’ something that you’ve said; people will re-tweet posts and you’ll receive another message which, effectively, tells you your views have been validated however negative, unpleasant or inflammatory they may be:

“If we can fund Planned Parenthood to murder babies, I think funding our schools with armed security guards to keep our children safe is more than a reasonable suggestion”.

Added to that people ‘follow’ you which is indicative of approval and something that many look for in their friends.  This results in people of like minds ‘following’ each other and using their sense of unity to bully others. Celebrities are often targets of this type of online abuse but they are also part of the problem; they are ‘accessible’ and some people will literally do anything to attract their attention. From fawning applause of even the most banal comment to threats of injury and death, to be noticed by someone famous can be seen by some as a huge boost to their ego. If they had a genuine sense of self-worth would they still be so desperate?

If Twitter were real life the world would be in a state of complete anarchy and war would be the norm rather than the exception but it’s popularity continues to grow. Even the President of the USA is in on the act and, as a hugely powerful and influential man, his words could literally divide a country:

….If a potential “sicko shooter” knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there…problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!”

It begs the question would Twitter would be so popular if tweets were not ‘liked’ or re-tweeted and if people could not follow each other? If that were the case people would just be airing their views based on their own moral standards and not as a way to gain acceptance or approval from others………..