I wanted to write something else for October’s theme of Peace over at Begin Again, and my inspiration came last week. I was reminded of how easy it can be to get sucked into things like fear and anger, even downright hatred, on Social Media platforms like Facebook.
There can be no peace where there is fear and anger. Taoist teachings tell us that Fear, Anger and Hatred are inner demons which must be fought with Chi (which is a positive, inner life-force made stronger by Virtue). I was thinking about the idea of Social Media and how it can negatively impact us and was reminded of verse/chapter 24 of the Tao Te Ching:
“He who stands on tiptoe is not steady.
He who strides cannot maintain the pace.
He who makes a show is not enlightened.
He who is self-righteous is not respected.
He who boasts achieves nothing.
He who brags will not endure.
According to followers of the Tao,
“These are extra food and unnecessary luggage.”
They do not bring happiness.
Therefore followers of the Tao avoid them.”
Places like Facebook are prime examples of how easy it is to be manipulated into these kinds of emotions. Think about it, how often do you see people boasting, bragging, being self-righteous on Facebook? There is a lot of fear and hate-mongering, too; posts that are designed to inflame passions, create rifts and sow dissent.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of things posted online that can be used to divide people — News, Social Media, Blogs, etc. All this “stirring up” is not conducive to Peace. Sometimes it is only when you step back from it that you can see the truth of exactly how you’re being used and manipulated and who is doing it. But you also have to remember that you allow it. Placing yourself in a situation where the inner demons will be provoked is not a good practice.
So be mindful. Be aware of how the Media (of any sort) relies upon your emotional/intellectual participation for it to be effective and how that can affect your sense of well being and inner peace.