‘If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.’
Lately I’ve noticed folks taking variations of this quote and using it on their journey to go barrel rolling round the internet at 11.
I’ve had an issue with this quote (which is very likely misquoted) for a while for the above reason and much more, and haven’t felt strong enough to voice it until now.
I seem to have developed some sort of fear of expressing myself online as often as I used to due to this rise in ‘with us or against us’ culture, and also perhaps because of feeling guilty that I am slowly losing the time and energy to actively contribute to any possible stated ‘solution’, vague or not.
This leaves me confused and out of the loop, sometimes unable to get on board with things due to simply lacking the information. Am I now problematic?
On another side of things, for those who do have the time and energy to familiarize themselves, it is very true that people can be resistant to change, and even outright refuse because it means more work to do what is widely seen as right, or simply commonly accepted. This lot can certainly be encouraged, but ultimately it’s their job/choice to take the steps.
However, speaking in absolutes where someone else’s feelings are concerned without substantial evidence runs the risk of being eerily impertinent.
Fall ’05, Los Angeles.
Does one misstep count as being anti-x? How mild or severe must the mistake be to rule someone completely out as being in your corner? How do we tell what a true apology is, and what a ‘fauxpology’ is when someone is in the wrong? Can we dialogue with those undecided on positions, or is it not worth it?
In hopes of finding some of these answers, I have been quieter and more observant of exchanges online, where possible.
Sometimes I do not even actively participate in them, save to learn terms that may be foreign/otherwise inaccessible to me, what not to say or do within certain circles to maintain that I respect people and would also like to be respected in turn.
Education is often an ongoing lifetime process as people and times change (and hopefully grow).
I don’t always succeed, but I try to exercise empathy for the folks who are going to 11, and to exercise patience for the ones who don’t yet understand something I’ve only just learned.
In a funny sort way, this rise of ‘barrel roll to 11’ culture has been a good thing for me, as it pushes me to engage in more exchanges offline, moderate exchanges I control online, and seek out one-on-one exchanges in general to further understanding.
I am not of the opinion that sharing is impossible in the face of difficulty (even where there are disagreements).
I feel confident in my determination to create space for myself and others in which to safely speak and dissect, as well as call out where necessary. That in itself takes work, so perhaps I am doing some good, though it might not be observed by all.
Part II in a personal blog series about interactions on the internet.