I have lately been hearing a lot of people bring up social and political movements in the past, from uprisings in Rome to the civil rights era here in the US. Some people have suggested we are in an endless cycle of oppression and revolt and nothing ever really changes in part because we fail to learn from the past. I agree in part as far as human nature being more or less consistent, but the world has changed in some ways that I think will alter the way future generations view the history that some are currently trying to make. One of the main differences between then and now is the internet. For the first time in history everyone can instantly share information and personal experiences with every single other person who has internet access. History will no longer be written by a few individuals with the resources to make their version the most visible, but by an army of voices blogging from the front lines. Current events can be broadcast via social media more quickly than any news organization could have dreamed of in our parents generation. The media and government has no hope of successfully hiding anything from the public if a hundred witnesses can upload the truth to YouTube from their cell phones and laptops. We are now impossible to silence and difficult to discredit. I know mainstream media still dictates much of public opinion and influences how we record and remember events, but I think slowly this is changing. We can help it along by seeking out information from multiple sources and verifying and questioning what we find before passing it along. Alternatively, any one of us could choose to abuse our powers of self publishing to spread misinformation and chaos. I hope more of us choose the high road.
Originally posted November 8, 2011:
One of the most heartbreaking events in life is the moment you try to show someone you love a complex, beautiful thing that you also love and they can’t or won’t really see it the way you do. The people I spend most of my time with now in the park are not always people I get along with, or people I have a lot in common with, or (to be completely honest) people I’d trust all the time but together they are a community. I’ve tried so hard to explain (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) that you really do have to be there inside of it to judge. Yes, there are people who sometimes have problems or get upset, but 10 minutes later we might be hugging and singing and making passionate speeches about hopeful futures. If you can’t make it through a few minutes of the bad stuff, you never get to see the good stuff. I am starting to believe that the stronger more stubborn people of the world are often rewarded with beauty that the meek rarely see.