Every generation produces those who lack common sense. We are acutely aware of family members and friends who lack discernment. As a parent raising two bull-headed sons, I am well-acquainted with the lack of conceptualisation residing within the cerebrum of my darling progeny. If sense could be knocked into a head, I would have attempted it years ago. My husband gleefully proclaims, “They are just like you.”In actuality, they probably fall within a normative range for human behaviour.Neither one is a genius, but do they have to act like idiots?
Prior generations read a daily newspaper to catch an occasional glimpse of others who did not display good judgment — the Teapot Dome scandal, Chappaquiddick, the Watergate Seven. You can draw from your own history for comparable events. The dynamic for human interaction and information gathering has changed. We have harnessed the ability to communicate with others innano-seconds. This is the day of the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28: blessings and curses are on full display. We show our hand with exuberant abandon and lack of discernment. Pick a verse that mirrors your image. It is there. It is there in every Skype, Tweet, Facebook post and Instagram. It is in the ‘selfie’ that you just sent out standing in your underwear in the bathroom. Anthony Weiner? Deuteronomy 28:28 comes to mind: “The Lord will afflict you with madness.” A compulsive sexting middle-aged male with a nom de plume ‘Carlos Danger’ has exposed the madness lurking within the dark corners of his psyche. Naturally, Carlos Dangeris not the only elected US official to pull a ‘28:28’. Representative Christopher Lee (R-NY) used Craig’s List to find women interested in taking a look at his assets. Nice torso, cheap belt, slacks and a bad haircut all added up to a rapid political demise. Four hours after Gawker printed the images, Mr Lee resigned from his position. He probably had to hurry home and load up his vehicle with the personal belongings that his wife had thrown out on the front lawn. Either that, or slither across the threshold begging for forgiveness.
I like to remember that mankind is the only animal inhabiting our planet that wears clothes. We are smart enough to know that we are physically naked and so we cover it up a bit. Yet we seem incapable of recognising a naked and exposed psyche. We do not fully understand how the overexposure of our psyche affects both us and our intended audience. Those of us who recognise this current elusive danger can be wrongly accused of being outdated. In actuality, we might be ahead of our times. We do not Skype nor have a Twitter account. We do notFacebook and befriend the world. We do not post on YouTube. Happiness is found in a cup of coffee shared with a friend. Joy comes with sharing thoughts in private with a trusted few as opposed tothe swirling masses of the unknown. Life is enriched when tranquil, largely unobserved by others and free of the opinion of the masses.If you follow me, let it be on the page of Daily Times. I am a person and not a personality. A personality removes the cloththat protects the psyche. This brings a distinct vulnerability. The wise cover it up.
We have become a planet of unclothed animals. Baiting headlines await us: “See the surprised look on this man’s face”. “Find out what made this little girl laugh”. “See why a bride threw the groom off the boat”. Click, click, click. We are looking at psyche. Two hours later and being completely bored with life, we decide to post onYouTube. We sing a funny jingle with a roll of toilet paper on our head and a carrot sticking out of an ear. We write our own screenplay. We are director, producer and actor. Exposed psyche. Awards await us. They are the awards we deserve.
Sudden ruin. Deuteronomy 28:20 is applicable. Each of us can recount episodes of ‘sudden ruin’ because of lack of discernment using social media tools. Incoming law students at major universities are being advised to minimise their digital footprint. This is also true of other disciplines. The wise are cognizant that a careless image posted on Facebookcan initiate a sudden ruin event at a later date. A Tweet sent out, which speaks of rape in a jesting tone, can kill a career. It killed the career of veteran war correspondent Nir Rosen. CBS’s chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was brutalised at Tahrir Square. Mr Rosen tweeted in coarse manner and exposed a naked psyche. Does anyone really see humour in the rape of a woman? If you do, please see a therapist. The outcry against Mr Rosen brought sudden ruin.
Let us peddle back to that YouTube with a carrot sticking out of your ear. It can affect a future job offer. The opportunity may not materialise today but what about a decade from now? How do you want others to see you? A careful guardianship of the psyche keeps others from building what might be a faulty psychological profile. It also protects our emotional wiring.
As a registered nurse working within a critical environment I push narcotics into intravenous fluids all day long. I always remember that once the drug is in the patient’s system I can no longer retrieve it. It will work its little magic. With an excessive dose of Demerol I can follow through with Narcan, a narcotic antagonist. Internet access has a narcotic-like effect on our sense of importance in this world. Under this mind-muddling influence we post images, sing songs and send out Tweets with the hope of entertaining a growing audience. We are starring in our own movie and living in a world of our creation. Just remember this little thought. There is no digital Narcan available. There is no way to reverse the effects of what you have pumped and pushed into the digital space. Digital is forever.
The writer is a freelance journalist and author of the novel Arsenal. She can be reached at email@example.com