Enough already. Enough with the Facebook posts, the rants, the forwards; enough with the anti-anti-vaxxer posts, anti-Fifty-Shades, anti-Muslim, anti-everything. Enough with the hating.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I’m necessarily for any of the ideologies those posts are against. I’ve had my kids vaccinated; I haven’t read Fifty Shades; I’m not Muslim; and I don’t intend to change any of those practices.

But I’m so very, very tired to hear the harping, the incessant banging, clanging, beating of the drums, the tapping of the hammer that keeps driving home the message that YOU are right, and [insert opposing position on issue du jour] is wrong, evil, and to be resisted with every fibre of our beings.

Telling me of your opinion once is fine – please, I really do want to hear what my friends have to say. But not over, and over, and over. Because, you see: all that energy you’re using to be AGAINST, that is energy that is no longer available to be FOR. It’s negative energy, energy that takes away. And it’s sucking the life out of me.

Darkness, someone once said, isn’t an active force – it’s simply the absence of light. Contrary to what Star Wars would have you believe, The Dark isn’t a power in its own right – bring one single candle into a dark room, and you no longer have darkness. Light is the overpowering force. I don’t have to push back against the dark bits underneath my couch, build barriers to keep the darkness from flowing out into the room and overwhelming the light that is coming in the big picture window. I don’t have to relentlessly draw attention to the fact that there is darkness under the furniture, hold my book beneath the sofa to demonstrate just how dim and impossible to read it is under there. All I have to do is draw back the curtains.

Candle cropI let off a plea for the antidote yesterday, on Facebook. I asked my friends – rather with a tongue-in-cheek attitude at that moment, not expecting to be taken seriously – to post some cute pictures of their kids, or pets, or what-have-you, because I was just so very fed up with all the controversy. And within minutes, I had responses. Picture after picture of smiling children, furry critters, funny captions – it was wonderful. Because trivial as those images might seem, they testify to what really matters. They put the attention back on the light.

And that, people, is what it’s about. Don’t bewail the darkness, light a candle. Or throw the electric light switch, as it were; draw back the curtains; step outside into the sunshine.

If you’re concerned about unvaccinated children, show me how you are keeping yours strong and healthy. If you are worried about extremist Muslims, show me that your religion does not inspire you to similar self-righteous hating – and let me see the potency of your faith in engendering life-giving love. If you despise Fifty Shades, show me what powerful romantic love is really about – or even better yet, write a heart-gripping novel that lets me experience it for myself when I identify with your heroine, and leaves me feeling empowered and inspired, ready to take on the world – because that is what love can do.

Don’t show me everything that’s bad – let me see what is good. I’m tired of being asked to stare into black holes. Show me the light, instead.

2 thoughts on “Enough!”

  1. That is so well said, and really, it’s time that someone said it. Bravo!! I have been noticing a large grey cloud over my Facebook page also. And the other day, I experienced a brief return to wit and laughter–the reason I signed up for Facebook in the first place and went through all that time of inviting friends, and sending notices, and posting photos, and trying to give a bit of time to it a few times a week, just to see if it’s a worthwhile ‘thing’ in the middle of what is normally my very busy life. “C’mon Facebook. Be worth my time, or you’re outta here.”

    I want to connect with my friends on a casual basis and daily, and not spend hours on the phone like I used to. Now I’m thinking that the hours on the phone might have been what was “real” all along and this Facebook, whatever it is, is not the real at all. It’s only a shadow of my friendships with people. That’s good because I can’t allow it to be more than that. I think I might return to the healthful practice of phoning my friends, and saying “how’s it going?” And pour a cup of coffee and chat for a few minutes. How novel!!

    For me, I want Facebook to be a place where I sit down at the end of the day with my “cuppa” and spew herbal tea at my computer screen because I am laughing so suddenly. I want to shed tears over the poignant and warm rather than over the horrific. If I want to know what horrors are going on in the world, I will turn to CNN.

    That said, I don’t mind engaging in a group discussion over a topic. For instance, a few of us had a lengthy discussion over the violent Charlie Hebdo occurrence, and it was an articulate and thought-provoking discussion among intelligent and educated individuals–who, by the way, brought their significant academic prowess to bear. It became more of a discussion forum than a simple Facebook chat. Now THAT I also like, and is another reason I have kept my Facebook page, and collected the “friends” I have.

    It’s hard though, to stay separate from all the “trending” crap out there. And yes, the whole “anti-vaxxer” thing is becoming a real pebble in people’s shoes. Evil “anti-vaxxer” this and evil “anti-vaxxer” that. That little thing you sent me the other day (was hilarious by the way) is actually speaking to how out of whack the discussion has become. When this whole anti-vaxxer thing erupted, I took some time to research, found a couple of good articles, and posted them. Facebook is also about sharing information. However, that was a while ago and it’s time to let it go. Change the topic. Just like the “Je Suis Charlie Hebdo” thing. And don’t get me started on Muslim radicals. I feel your pain. It is so much over the top that it has become a mindless flailing stab at anything that irritates us.

    And, it’s not that I don’t believe that these issues, in and of themselves, are extremely important and behave as a symptom of the “else” that is going on underneath. But Facebook is not the place to resolve any of these pressing topics. It only leads to frustration, and for a few very good reasons. 1) There is very little accountability on Facebook. People can stick their opinion in or become abusive even if they are not part of the conversation. Because, 2) it is becoming proven that the “friends” people have on Facebook are not actually friends who know them and seek common ground, and are sometimes merely acquaintances of acquaintances of acquaintances. Now, not all of us maintain our pages in such a way–I sure don’t–but many do. So, no accountability because there is no connection and no “faces” looking back at us. Facebook is, ironically, faceless. And 3) such issues as the mind-set of anti-vaxxers, or ideological radicals, or fill-in-the-blank require the attention of actual researchers. We need the sociologists and psychologists to explain the root causes underpinning the motives of the foolish and violent. So that we can work toward resolving it. With Facebook, instead of solving the issues, we create hatred and scorn. These items become metaphors or jokes. And the darkness is, all jokes aside, no laughing matter.

    The darkness of terror… It’s a profound but intangible state that, and here’s the clincher, only exists if we allow it… if we buy into it. Darkness only comes at our bidding. It cannot otherwise. Like you so eloquently suggested, “Light a candle.” Done. There’s a reason we are told in an emergency situation to “WALK! NOT RUN!”

    I watched a nature documentary about elephants. Beautiful, intelligent, sensitive animals. Elephants are creatures of habit and will follow the same routes in their territory. In some places, their routes take them near small villages. When the elephants “walk” by, sometimes 25 of them, they don’t generally disturb anything. That is to say, they don’t knock everything over. Sometimes they go by after dark, and the villagers don’t even know until the morning when they see the many footprints. However, one day hunters spooked the herd, and because there were infants in the herd, the elephants stampeded. The village that they normally “tiptoed” past noiselessly and calmly, they now destroyed. Their stampede behavior destroyed wells, gardens, homes, and injured and killed the villagers–villagers who had nothing to do with what spooked the elephants in the first place. That’s what terror does to everything in its path. It is all about fight or flight–“fight” which cannot be reasoned with and “flight” which is mindless. Calm down, walk, keep your head together, shine a flashlight, breathe in, breathe out. The zombie apocalypse is not upon us just yet. We’re still us. We will survive the day.

    By the way, I haven’t read “50 Shades of Grey.” So, I don’t get it. Like you, I did vaccinate my son, and my husband I are also vaccinated. Therefore, in the global measles epidemic that is apparently on its way according to the conspiracy theorists and fear-mongers, me and mine will be unaffected. As for Muslim radicals…I live in a small seaside town on Vancouver Island where this issue is something that happens in another world. What gets us up in arms here, is not enough by-laws requiring pet owners to clean up their pet’s “leavings” in doggy parks. Or wide enough safety margins of grassy areas between park playgrounds and public roads. Am I sticking my head in the sand? No. Because that suggests that I am running away from the darkness by hiding in the dark. I am keeping my attention in the real areas of my life–and they may sound simple–but that’s okay. For me and mine, that’s why we left the big city–for the simple life where the darkness rarely shows its face.

    Thanks for your post!! It really does give the light we sometimes take for granted into a whole different perspective. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the extensive response!

      Yeah. My issue is not that I don’t have opinions on to-vax-or-not-to-vax, or on 50 Shades, for that matter. I do – I’m German, I have opinions on everything. 😉 But I’ve come to realise that airing and debating those opinions on the Internet not only isn’t helpful, it’s actually unhealthy. Looking at all the darkness, at everything that’s “wrong” with the world (for a given value of that term – opinions again), actually gives a really skewed picture – it’s not the truth. So I don’t want to do it any longer.

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