• Cate

The Age of Ignorance

Updated: Mar 21

Social media has become many people’s go to method of socialization and source of information. That is a travesty. I’m not sure anyone understands how great a degradation to society social media has become.

At first social media was fun! We marveled over each others vacation photos and delighted in adorable babies and puppies. We reconnected with old friends. We made new friends. Social media seemed like it was the perfect companion to anyone’s life.

Then we realized how many people were suffering from depression and anxiety. We found ourselves comparing the mundane details of our lives to the highlight reels of our friends. We questioned whether our lives were good enough.

Social platforms became a hotspot for making money. People were noticed who hadn’t had an outlet before. All of a sudden, people were jockeying for attention. The vultures began to circle. Souls were sold.

But something else was happening all along. Each post we made became a brick. It became a vehicle to show other people who we were. But the more we tried to show how unique we were, the higher the wall between individual and the world became. Each label we attached to ourselves pushed away another group of potential friends, or worse, current friends.

It wasn’t long until we were all built into our tiny worlds, with our social media platforms our only windows to the outside. We thought we were so connected. We thought we were so informed. The stronger our presence, the more arrogant we became.

Many times, the ones spewing lies are the ones speaking the loudest. They were naturally amplified by the social media platforms. By this time, we were locked into our platforms, growing our own brand, shunning face to face contact.

Removing tactile contact to the ones we care about put each of us into a box. The nice things we once took time to say to our dear ones slipped away. They were replaced by opinions. Now everyone wanted their opinions to be known and accommodated.

Now the labels we slapped on ourselves were so numerous, we couldn’t name them all ourselves. We became so entrenched in the game of intolerance, throwing this opinion right here just to “get a rise” out of someone. People were now targeting the people they now despised in order to hurt them with words. Because it was funny. Because it gave them a laugh.

Now we were a people easily fooled. We had become a people who didn’t care how our words and actions affected others. We became a society that only cared about the frivolous opinions of the individuals we’d become. Community died in cities everywhere. Now everyone was out to get us, out for themselves.

The misinformation was easily spread. People had stopped reading the reputable publications. They replaced them with some guy who sounded like he knew what he was talking about. Some beautiful woman who couldn’t possibly be lying. A group claiming they cared when actually they exploited their members. These people couldn’t be wrong when they said that the media was lying, could they?

But now everything was all jumbled. Now it was impossible to tell a good source from a bad one, since prominent people seemed to discount anything the mainstream media reported. It was a shame, because they missed a lot of things they really should have been paying attention to.

You see, the vast majority of reporters became journalists because they had a moral obligation to the truth. They took it upon themselves to look into situations that government agencies couldn’t touch. They put themselves in harms way to give people a view from the inside. They attached their integrity to the words they printed.

Books had long been joked about. People had long taken pride in the fact that they didn’t have the attention span to read a full book. Ignorance became the norm and abusive language towards one another became common place. Media had been the only last surviving chance at the truth, but we assaulted that too.

Now these platforms were filled with anger and filth. Anyone who tried to say something nice was laughed at and called a clown or a commie liberal, as if that had anything to do with kindness! People laughed at the pain of others, as if this sort of language was ever okay to use! How dare anyone treat another soul with such disregard? It breaks my heart.

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We have now come to a very grave point in history. We have come to a point where mistrusting and mistreating our neighbors is socially acceptable. We punish, judge, and laugh at them when we could help them to the benefit of us all.

We have severed ties between long time friends and family because we were horrified by their opinions, just as they were horrified by ours. It became Us and Them. Only, now that we had so many opinions and labels, we weren’t really sure who Us was. We realized that Us had become just the one.

That in and of itself should horrify anyone, but that isn’t even the worst side effect of what we’ve become. The worst thing is that the most vulnerable have become targets for those that would hurt them. It’s hard to tell the difference these days between a wolf and a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The children and the elderly are worse off than ever.

They feel like no one cares. The thing is, no one does care anymore. They only care about themselves. They have forgotten what it meant to be part of a thriving community. They forgot how human contact felt. They became afraid of one another, and for good reason: We now bully anyone who doesn’t agree with our opinion.

I question whether I should even share my blog to any social media platform. I have taken it upon myself to describe some terrible things. I decided to do this because many people are just too hurt to share what it feels like to be so hurt. Some of the most judgmental comments on my posts are from those who didn’t even read the article.

I have shared this page and blog with the people I care the most about. With the exception of my closest friends, I have not received feedback from even one of them. It is a good thing I’m not doing this to be validated by them. I only wanted to call attention to this to illustrate how cold we’ve become towards those we call family and friend.

My journey has placed some amazing teacher’s in my life. I appreciate the wisdom of my teachers. It is with their guidance that I continue to nurture my all encompassing compassion. It is with their wealth of knowledge that I hold tight to my morals and develop my understanding for deeper knowledge.

Through all of the lessons of my life, I have gained such compassion for others. I care about each and every person I come across. But I find that I am increasingly agitated. I am affronted by the rude and careless behavior of others, especially towards children.

I believe that each and every soul is precious. I believe that each child should be given equal opportunity to grow and thrive in a nurturing environment. It is the responsibility of us all to ensure the safety of the children. It is not only the responsibility of those with children.

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This article marks a shift in my subject matter. Now that I have provided a window into the way the cycle of abuse feels, I’d like to be more formal about it. Through my healing process I have learned a lot about trauma. I have read many books and have others still to read. It’s time I draw a line between abuse and the physical impact it has a person’s body and mind.

It can be uncomfortable for a person to realize that their actions are wrong. This is why accountability is so important. Accountability isn’t as scary as it sounds. It is the means by which we let people know that their behavior is unacceptable. Do you really want to be unintentionally causing harm to others? Is your pride so fragile that you would rather cause harm than be humble?

Now that you can see how a person operates under duress of abuse, I’m going to explain what’s going on inside that makes those traits manifest. I encourage anyone to reach out with questions or comments. I’m happy to research something I’m currently unaware of. Give me a reputable source and I will follow it.

What I won’t tolerate is the mistreating of people on my page. If you are being unkind, I will call you out. If your ignorance causes you to judge the abused, I will set you straight or ask that you withhold judgement with the knowledge that you couldn’t possibly know what it’s like for each person in their individual situations.

I will stand up in the face of adversity. I will speak up when someone is talking down. I will take on the plight of the innocent to save them the battle. If I could take your pain away, I would. But only you can release yourself from your pain. That doesn’t mean that I won’t try to find a way to help if I can. That doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying to change things for the least cared for among us.

In the Age of Ignorance, I will be knowledgeable. In the face of cruelty, I will be kind. Our happiness comes not from the end of all suffering, but from the joy of the journey. I have shared my journey with you to help you understand something I hope you’ll never experience. Please take this knowledge and use it to care more gently for the people in your life. Thank you for your time.

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