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The New Ism

LBelans 2018

Binary, the new "ism", spawned by social media, is the ism that worries me deeply right now.  FB seems a dangerous, maybe even lazy format to have these back and forths: flat words on a screen absent human form, energy, intended inflections, facial expressions, spaces to pause, listen or even laugh. Space to soften the hard lines drawn around our arguments, often made to 'friends" we have never met or hardly know, in a voyeur-like setting – we don’t know who's listening/watching. 


Our posts are often linked, at best, to essays that keep us bound in our own points of view, or at worst, to poorly sourced articles. Social media is the redistricting of our points of view. It has become a place to state an argument, judge or disavow those who disagree, look for allies, and by definition, keep a closed mind. It’s the hit-and-run of talking. It provides us with the luxury of walking away from the argument we have sometimes started. Or propelled. 


Even now, those who are reading this post, might be imbuing me with intentions I don't have. Or have no way of knowing what experiences inform my thinking and feeling. There is no way you can hear the sorrow in my voice, the fear, and the deep desire to come together to have rich discussions and gain new, real friends in these perilous times, when our fragile democracy, and national decency, and capacity for compassion are dangling on the precipice.

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