Saturday, January 7, 2017

Nurturing our Nature

I wonder how long it will be before we see some toothsome legislation dealing with social media?  Given many of the events of the past week, it just might be forthcoming.  The violent nature of the human being seems to be shouting out for some kind of restraint.  In a world filled with bloody video games and all manner of violent sports and entertainment, who among us can say that there isn't something innate about our species that seems to constantly defy our better nature? Now we have the phenomena of people posting their insane and insane behavior for all to see.  A digital "showing off" that seems to graphically demonstrate how low we can go.
We "tsk tsk" a good deal, we like to say that we, ourselves, don't watch all that much garbage on TV, and we prefer to think that something must be lacking at home to produce a full blown psychopath.
These issues and questions have been debated for centuries.  Thomas Hobbes was sure he knew the answer.  In his classic work Leviathan, Hobbes argued for a social contract that would put strong restraints on the actions of the citizenry because that's what they needed to be civilized.  Many would agree.  I'm sire we can all think of examples of how quickly human behavior can deteriorate.  Especially in group dynamics.  And while it seems our current social contract does seem to be seriously lacking, we fortunately have seen the harm in advocating and fighting for a government that is too oppressive or lacks the understanding and compassion that our weak species so desperately needs.

When I first began teaching we used to teach the entire concept of governing and systems of government  by examining human nature first.  Most religions will tell you that human beings are by nature weak and needy.  We're too competitive for our own good and we are capable of atrocities that hardly fit the definition of human.  Yet, for every negative thought or action, there seems, also to be an equally opposite one. Even within our own experience. I think we drastically want to believe that our nature is positive and that we're more prone to goodness than evil.
Sometimes, with all the computer hacking and scamming going on, it seems as if we are all waiting to be victims.  That may be.  The explosion of technology and its impact on our rapidly changing culture certainly has given us a good opportunity to take a good look at ourselves. A golden opportunity to start from square one.   Do you think that for every hostile troll out there, for every cyber bully, you can also find a "Go Fund Me" endeavor or an inspirational thought or document or video or photograph?  Does it all equal out?
I'm wondering if our legislators have been working on laws that might discourage people from posting their pathologies...from denigrating others to make themselves feel better.  I'm fascinated by what the consequences for violating such statutes would be.  Here's where we really could get dystopic.

No comments: