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Take a Breath

Each passing day fills our electronic coffers and constantly straining brains will more and more reactionary misinformation it seems. Humans are often reactionary - the behavior isn't necessarily new, but it's frequency and intensity certainly have reached new heights in our Social Media Age. I'm not sure our brains are really wired for the onslaught of information - or I should say, most brains. There are an elite few it seems that can absorb the information as quickly as it is disseminated, process the messaging, and make somewhat rational conclusions based on what is presented.

But most of us cannot.

Most of us are visceral creatures - the Captain Kirks rather than Picards. We act first, think later - constant fight or flight mode. As most of us are far too comfortable in our surroundings, and the reactions to the stimuli provided do not necessitate any kind of flight response - fight is called upon time and time again.

So many react quickly and boldly - though not necessarily wisely. The lack of long-range assessment is enormously evident. We'll fix that later, if we have to at all - but we need to fix this right now becomes the service of the day. Even when there's nothing actually to fix.

Social media fuels the fire - throwing glowing logs onto burning embers, and blowing oxygen up and underneath every cross hatch of wood. Sometimes the consequential blaze is manageable, often it blows up like a dry savannah after a lightening strike.

Its hard to be a person of reason in such an incendiary climate. However, those of us who strive to be that balance, need to dig in harder than ever. We cannot fan the flames. We also should not resort to fighting fire with fire - and also not look to necessarily extinguish it entirely.

Through it all we must remember to take a breath. Take a beat. A moment. A pause...before any response. And if we are lucky enough to have the luxury of preparation before hitting that Enter key - we need to review before we "speak". Especially when we are entering our dissent via electronic media - where each keystroke is recorded - virtually forever. Yes, people will remember what you've said - but they'll remember far longer what they've read - not to mention they can read it again and again and again and...

I suppose all of the hullaballoo is better than the opposite - apathy can be just as dangerous, if not more so. At least with all the discourse, there's a chance that opinions/thoughts/beliefs can be reviewed and reconsidered.

Just keep "talking" - keep the conversations alive - even when, and especially when they get uncomfortable. Without the exchanges, complacency will set in, and nothing will move forward, in any direction.

You can question authority AND respect it as well. You can challenge the status quo AND stir up passion without destroying society as we know it. We can find common ground - through all the fire and brimstone - we just have to remember to take that breath first.

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