The Courage to be a Human Being

It was an innocent musing. A question that had popped up in my head and I felt the desire to post it up as a tweet. And it was immediately jumped on and twisted into something that supposedly expressed callousness and insensitivity to human suffering. And of course this person felt that the right was theirs to lecture me about the “fucking inconsequential” nature of my tweet.

In the first, I am not going to deny my tweet was inconseqential. Or possibly “too soon”. Or even, not important. But that is the point of Twitter. 140 characters to express your most inconseqential, banal, possibly even stupid thoughts.

What I am writing about is not obviously a justification for my tweets, or even an angry rebuttal about why this person is wrong. What I’m writing about is the simple human decency to not act like the moral police to every small thing that may pop up on your Twitter feed. It is telling that everytime this happens, I get sympathetic direct messages with quiet expressions of support. Because yes, you may be a member of the intelligentsia, and maybe even more intelligent than me or a vast majority of your peers. But to use this weapon and, I use this word deliberately, as a club to attack every last off hand comment, smacks of making a mountain out of a molehill. Which by the same token, the person who made the comment, may come to realise his mistake. A realisation that probably will not occur when you choose to put him or her on the defensive.

But no, even after reading this, the response may be something flippant, Oh I’m ridding the world of stupidity, or something delightfully disarming. And yes, it is your every right to say whatever you want to say. But the whole point of your online bloodbath would be what? To demonstrate your superiority? To clobber that person into submission? To act like an online bully so that you may win the prize for best Twitterer ever? Reasons that ultimately betray your response as self aggrandising and self serving.

So I say, that it takes courage to be a human being. For you may be right, but in the way you tell me you are right, you also tell me if you are worth listening to.