I’ve been thinking about the role that social media plays in our lives today, and especially how it insulates us from one another and even gives opportunity for the snarkiest, rudest, and most alienating words. “Words Without Eyes” is a reference to the words we paste on FB posts, comments to a post, and Twitter posts that destroy the fabric of our democracy.
Words Without Eyes
21 September 2018
Words without eyes
Easily written, disembodied
Sent with the press of a key
Weaponized and deadly
No gazing at the Other,
No asking, “What do you think?”
No sitting in stillness
No legs under the table of hospitality.
Words without eyes are like weed killer
That stop the spread of contrary ideas.
The green growth of respect
Turns brown and shriveled.
Words without eyes sterilize communication
And shame the contrary idea
Rejecting those who differ in idea or race.
Monologue is the only mode.
Words without eyes
Favor anonymous places like Twitter
Where you don’t get human touch
And you can’t see the effect of your words.
Words without eyes don’t promote
The creation of collaboration,
The love from compassion,
Or the relationship of dialogue.
Linguists were in disarray
Used to adding words to the English canon
They were now having to subtract words.
No one knows how far reaching the implications are
With the demise of truth.
Even words like “quality” assume some sort of standard. Continue reading →
I heard for the first time in the early 80’s that American foreign policy was being influenced by the joint ideologies of religious fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. It seemed far-fetched at the time, but the idea stayed around in my mind in the ensuing decades.
Whatever doubts might have been present were dispatched by Matthew Avery Sutton’s fine history of these movements in America in his newest book, American Apocalypse.
Sutton traces the rise of these movements in America beginning in the mid-1800’s and continuing to the present. In articulate, dispassionate prose, Sutton lays the case for the powerful and concerted influence of the Religious Right as embodied by Fundamentalism and its partner Evangelicalism. Continue reading →
With all the talk about fake news these days, I’m most disturbed by the rise of fake religion.
What does it look like? It preens and struts. “Look at how religious I am,” it seems to say. It postures and poses, setting up pictures for the front page of the newspaper. It wants to make sure that you notice that it’s praying or serving or worshiping. Continue reading →
Facebook is an accurate model of what it looks like when conversation occurs without respect, curiosity, and kindness. Comments following the posting of a political or religious opinion are too often judgmental, even vulgar.
A rule of discussion often heard today is, “never discuss religion or politics.” However, there is a problem with that rule. It ends all possibility of progress. Without discussion, people cannot reach solutions to challenges and problems. Nor can they learn to understand one another. Continue reading →
“It was meant to be.”
“The Universe wanted me to….”
“I was supposed to learn something from that.”
“There are no coincidences.”
“There’s a reason for everything.”
These statements are nearly universal, and there is no pattern to them. Atheists, believers, liberals and conservatives, and people characterized as either spiritual or not use some version of these statements. Many (I would say most) believe in some form of fate, destiny, providence, or another form of external manipulative power. Continue reading →
Coming down the hill from Yosemite required downshifting in order to spare the brakes. Third gear worked the best, but it was not meant for the flat straight-aways.
But getting the shifter back into Drive required determined strength, inspiring a moment of concern about the remainder of the trip home. This was not pleasant to be discovering this at 60 miles an hour. Continue reading →