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Feeding the Right Beast


There’s a meme going around asking if anyone would give up social media, tv, & cell phone for 3 months in exchange for $3 million.
Watching the decisiveness that’s permeating the digital culture and now today’s news of the senseless murder of 50 people in Orlando, Florida, the thought of living like a hermit in VT for 3 months is pretty tempting.  
Politicians and pundits will offer thoughts and prayers. For the next few days politician and argue about access to weapons, Islam in America, the need keep better tabs on the mentally ill, and any other subject under the sun to keep us from making meaningful change in our culture.

I don’t pretend to know what was in the mind of this particular shooter when he walked into that nightclub and murdered 50 innocent people. I can’t imagine what was going through the mind of a young man who walked into a church and gunned down nine innocent people, or through the head of another young man who massacred 26 children.  

The only thing I know for sure that we are living in a culture that seems to encourage disaffection and division, and I can’t help wondering if that plays at least some small role in all of the tragedies we are seen unfold. Our increasingly digital culture encourages post to score points with Snark-laden comments and memes rather to engage in meaningful dialogue.

I know I am complicit in some of the negativity. I try not to comment too often on digital media posts — I don’t like to get into arguments online, but I do my share of liking and sharing comments or Memes that do little more than express outrage, however righteous I may think it is at the time. Most of the time it is purely reactive, and rarely is it productive.

I know I don’t have the power to change the world, aside from making sure that the children I bring into it are kind people. I do believe, however, in the healing power of art and creativity. I believe it helps us find the humanity in ourselves and, more important, in others. It has the power to make us whole, as individuals and as a species.
So for today, I’m going to shut out the negativity and go make art and encourage other artists. Tomorrow, I’m going to embark on a resolution to make sure that every like, share or post is a positive contribution to the digital zeitgeist. And if I can’t add something positive, going to resolve to at least no longer feed the beasts of division and negativity.