When we were gifted the internet by filthy, lying scientists and grimy engineers with their gross phillips head screwdrivers, we were an optimistic lot. Because scientists and engineers are empirical in nature, they naively thought humanity was able to accept such a tool, use it to spread information, bring humanity closer together.
Sure, there are pockets of that, but for the most part, the inverse has come to pass. We are besieged by misinformation and divisiveness created by greedy, self-aggrandizing ideologs. People surround themselves with the ouroboros of their own loosely held half-assed doctrine rather than dare attempt to challenge themselves lest they reveal their own ignorance.
This puts us squarely at odds with the potential of humanity and our collective progression. Instead, humanity gave into its baser instincts as an internally self-loathing, yet externally self-mythologizing organism.
It’s because we were gifted this amazing tool and we, like suicidal monkeys didn’t know what to do with the internet. We can’t just be given this amazing tool without training. It would be like giving cats thumbs. Or making Keith Richards a pharmacist.
So, I would like to help create a basic internet training manual. This will be by no means comprehensive, I rely heavily on the good will and collective intelligence of people.
- Practice empathy.
- No, seriously, attempt to or fake the idea of imagining that the person you’re writing about/to is a real person with feelings.
- With great power to voice opinions comes great responsibility.
- Try an emotion other than anger.
- Porn is not representative of how sex actually works.
- Learn the difference between subjective and objective.
- Free speech isn’t commensurate with freedom from consequence.
- Mobs are not healthy.
- Always ask, “Would you say this to a person’s face?”
- Stealing someone’s intellectual property is just as hurtful as if you pooped in your neighbor’s bed.
- Check the source of that headline.
- Not liking something doesn’t make you cool.
- Liking something is fine, but if you hug something too tight, you can squeeze the life out of it.
- If a person doesn’t know the difference between a theory and a hypothesis, yet has an opinion about something that has a scientific consensus, you are free to ignore them.
- If the only way you know how to correct someone is by starting your sentence with “Um, actually,” don’t. Just keep scrolling.
- Don’t open that email attachment, Grandma!
Maybe if we burn down the current internet and start over again after everyone has read these basics, the internet wouldn’t be the leaking septic tank waiting for you to step wrong and sink into the quicksand like poo-hole that it is. Maybe, just maybe we could venture into the comments section. Perchance to dream.