Facebook and the sanction of the victim

The “sanction of the victim” is the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil, to accept the role of sacrificial victim for the “sin” of creating values.

Facebook started out for me as a way to connect with family members I had left over seas. I have shared photographs and memories with friends and family alike. Lately the site has devolved into collectivist inspired in-fighting. It is no longer enjoyable. To spend your time defending yourself simply for being yourself is a waste. Some words from T S Eliot found in Joseph Campbell’s ‘hero with a thousand faces’ stick out to me in situations like this, and the only option left is to withdraw entirely and commit to other more productive endeavors.

Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses

The assumption has now been made that it is socially acceptable to heckle other family members over trivial matters, that it is okay to lampoon someone for anything posted on their page that does not conform to social norms. Facebook has now pulled in millions of people into the swirl of collective mantra, where everyone has to get on to get along, and if you stray too far from the murky middle, you will be condemned and thrown to the wolves.

The rampant self imposed narcissism coupled with the collectivist ideals of equality makes for a dirty mix. I’ve seen people who ought to know better berate their grandparents over pent up emotions that ought to have been dealt with in private. I’ve seen otherwise well spoken people blast expletive filled diatribes in comments when a post wasn’t to their liking.

Social media is a double edged sword. It can connect you with distant family members, it can allow you to share photographs with long lost relatives. But it can also be used to vent emotions before heads have had a chance to cool.

It is not acceptable to berate others in public, it is not okay to heckle family members, it is not alright to disrespect elder members of your family. There is a time and a place to air your grievances, and it is always better to do it in private, one on one.

The shame is that Facebook is such a great and easy place to connect with people. The problem is that it is like being in an arena with all of your friends and family watching you. It’s hard to grow and learn new things when there is an audience constantly plugged into your very existence.

And so it was time for me to leave. I deactivated my account. I’ll log back in to check up on some people and to grab their email addresses and telephone numbers some time in the future. But the days of me checking statuses every hour of the day are over.

The time has come to shift focuses onto new endeavors. There are many new projects waiting in the wings, ready to be started and published.

I have a short ebook ready to publish, and a longer one being written. My wife and I just opened up an online store, and my father-in-law is getting ready to start selling the chapters of his new book.

2015 will be whatever you make it, so make it a good one. Happy New Year.

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