Monday, September 21, 2015

Repost from G+

With thanks to +Paul Ramsay for sharing this.

This is long.  Read it anyway.  Then listen to the talk a few times over the next few days and weeks.  Share it.  Remind ourselves and each other that even *good, kind people can be hanging judges*when we forget we are all creatures drawn in grey colors, not in black and white.

Yesterday at service, our minister talked about the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur and the idea of forgiveness, of releasing the ties to past hurts and errors and moving on with resolve not to repeat mistakes.  The UU hymnal has the following reading in it, which this Ted Talk by Jon Ronson brought back to me so strongly.

For remaining silent when a single voice would have made a difference

We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.

For each time that our fears have made us rigid and inaccessible

We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.

For each time that we have struck out in anger without just cause

We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.

For each time that our greed has blinded us to the needs of others

We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.

For the selfishness which sets us apart and alone

We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.

For falling short of the admonitions of the spirit

We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.

For losing sight of our unity

We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.

For these and for so many acts both evident and subtle which have fueled the illusion of
separateness

We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.


Ronson finished his talk with what I thought was the most deep-striking realization -- the touted voice that social media gives the voiceless has turned, so that the best way to remain safe on social media is to be silent -- voiceless.
 
What Voice Do You Speak With?

Watch this, and then think on it a bit, and then maybe watch it again tomorrow. Think about how we all have some times when we contribute to this culture of shaming. We move too quickly from disagreement or disappointment to outrage when others say things or write things or do things that we don't agree with.

The internet brings details to us with such speed, and we have been living at this speed for long enough, now, that we let ourselves sort of live carelessly at that tempo. We don't fact check. We pass the "facts" on with a click, and we add our sentiments, our reaction, to the narrative that is building. It can be a terrible, damaging snowball effect.

I've posted stupid things on social media before. I've made comments that were not crafted as articulately as they might have been, so they came off as insensitive. Usually, it was because I was acting on an impulse, rather than on an intention. But I want to live my life with good intention.

I want my first instinct to be one of compassion, not outrage.
I want my first action to be one of kindness, not of aggression.
I want to be impeccable with my word.
Twitter gives a voice to the voiceless, a way to speak up and hit back at perceived injustice. But sometimes, says Jon Ronson, things go too far. In a jaw-dropping story of how one un-funny tweet ruined a woman's life and career, Ronson shows how online commenters can e

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