Is Facebook the enemy of truth and civic unity?, asks a Guardian article today. Well, here are my two cents on it.
Suggesting that Facebook is to blame for “lack of truth” and lack of civility is like saying that guns are responsible for murders carried out by police or violent gangs.
The difference between the traditional press and the internet is that the latter “democratized” digitally printing thoughts. That comes with benefits and losses, as everything else in life.
Suggesting that is necessary to edit or censor some thoughts because they are incendiary or “conspiracy theories”, whatever that means, defeats the purpose of the democratization of the internet and of information. Censoring thoughts, written or otherwise, is part of the ongoing verbal oppression agenda.
It is not that the world is unprepared to use technologies such as Facebook or Twitter, as many people believe, it is that the world, the people, are not prepared to hear the gigantic diversity of opinions that has always been there, but that prior to the appearance of the internet was muted by the printing monopoly. Furthermore, people have become intolerant to different ways of thinking; they have become absolutists.
By the way, it was precisely the printing monopoly what molded the world to the way it is now. It was the printing monopoly what turned people into seekers of absolute truth and absolute everything before learning more about everything else.
The printers wrote history their way or the highway, typing what was convenient and omitting what was not. Today, the “digital printing press” is including everything.
People are participating in the writing of their present and their future, at least until the children of absolutism manage to censor diverse thinking by clamping down on free speech and free digital thought printing.
As for civility or civic unity, that is not something we learn or seek to learn online, but something that is part of the educational process we should all have from birth. Civic unity or any other kind of it can only be achieved when there is something or someone people can unite around.
Right now, there is not a lack of civic unity. Knowledge, however right or wrong, has spread widely and people are struggling to find meaning in that pool of knowledge so that they can unite around it.
The problem is not that there is a lack of unity, but that there is a lack of meaning. That is a consequence of the kidnapping of language as a tool to provide and find meaning. Those who seek to sanitize language for the sake of correctness are the biggest threat to meaning, and therefore the biggest threat to unity.