Interconnectedness or Societal Control?

I had a thought this morning … has society’s unlimited access into each others lives become a source of societal control or a means to tolerance and understanding? What I mean is that we can “Google” a name and find out more than we ever wanted to know about a person. News organizations can report non-stop and analyze every detail of a person’s life ad nauseum. Is it a good thing that we are all so connected?
As I am writing this, a few thoughts have occurred to me. I have a Facebook page, and several hundred friends from all times in my life. We all have extremely diverse beliefs, speak different languages, have different backgrounds, and in many cases, would not run in the same social circles. Yet, we can come together and discuss news stories, current events, daily happenings, and no one beats up on each other or bullies another into silence.

Another thought is that I have to give great thought to every article that I publish. I have to think about who may take it the wrong way, who may be offended, and will it start some type of backlash. I know that if someone reads something they do not like, with a few keystrokes, they can know where I work, who I am, and where I live. If that person does not like what I have to say, there is the potential that they may try to retaliate or harm me or my family.

I also dislike how we have used this access into one anothers lives to harm each other. I hate that we have glimpsed the pain in Gov Sanford’s marriage, though I dislike his policies, and I find him hypocritical [This is an article from 2009. To learn more, click here]. I hate that the personal sexual lives of our politicians, or people in general, have now become a litmus test for who they are as a person. Why do we care about what each of us are doing in our bedrooms? The mightiest of men (and women) can be brought to their knees by a single sexual indiscretion. We are not infallible. All people are subject to temptation in all forms. What if we found that Ghandi was secretly homosexual (I do not say that he was, nor wish to imply anything. Please understand the greater point: so what if he was)? Would we say that he was not a great man? Would we discount all of his good deeds for that one fact? What if Mother Theresa was trading sexual favors in order to gain influence for her cause? Would we deny all of the wonderful deeds that she accomplished?

I believe that this interconnectedness of the world can be a wonderful thing. If you have access to people from all over the world, you can begin to understand the story of that person, and not simply lump them into a tight category: “evil-doer,” “communist,” “socialist,” “different.” Why don’t we try instead: Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, Husband, Wife, Lover, Human.

There are so many types of people that I would never want to socialize with. I find them difficult to converse with, and their ideas about things so different than mine that I avoid discussions with them. With that said, I would not them use that as a justification for doing them harm.

I have held many labels through my life. I have many names, many titles, many duties. I am these labels, and yet, they do not define me. And yet, they do. I am Daughter and Mother and Wife and Worker and American. I have parents that love me, I have procreated, I have chosen a mate to share my life, I work to feed my family, and I was born in the United States. Do these labels and actions solely define me – of course not! I am these things, but I am more. I exist and for what time I have in left in this corporeal body, I hope we as a society, can begin to see past our many prejudices to the soul that exists within our neighbors.

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