It’s easy to be confused in a world where the vast majority of people we encounter are those with whom we share not a single duty or obligation . . . an alienation which is celebrated as “freedom.”
That’s the central distortion; and in the place of those outdated and dissolving bonds between people we actually knew, we’ve retreated into the padded room of social media — now unveiled as a profit-taking outrage machine, confining us in feedlots of outrage, then milking us.
It’s a trick.
There have always been outrageously unjust and horrible actions afoot somewhere, and there always will be.
Human beings are not perfectible; and the world is governed by the exercise of violent power . . . nothing new there . . . this same prince of darkness — Power — has reigned since the Fall.
One person — you, me, him, her — can neither know all the outrages in the world nor correct them.
Some outrages can never be corrected — too late.
I can’t explain a microwave oven, but I can tell you how the world ought to be governed in the networked theater of the hive mind.
Social media makes us aware of so many outrages that we begin to feed on them, measure ourselves by the virtue of our own outrage, measure others by the intensity or lack thereof of their own outrage, and eventually become overwhelmed by all the things that are wrong and all the ways in which we are impotent to change them.
Then we begin to believe that our virtual-reality powerlessness can be overcome by mobilizing the outrage of others, and that the mojo-magic of that concentrated outrage will render the world something it is not . . . perfectible.
This is pride and arrogance, this belief that we can perfect the world, that we even know how.
But pump it up, and deny, deny, deny the impotence; pump up the outrage.
The power of our combined outrage will eventually explode into a magical New Future where every outrage is answered.
Collect the outrages, which are now the “real” world instead of that fleshy, messy, broken, and forgotten one beyond the monitor.
Measure virtue not in the context of some practice but as declarations of outrage inside the sealed and padded room that is virtual reality.
See those with whom we disagree inside this sealed and padded room as the source of those outrages — collectively held in the hand of the malevolent deity of virtual public opinion.
It’s a short leap then to make all of us as responsible for the whole world — because if you know of it, somehow, you become responsible for it.
This is a viscous and soul-sucking lie that leaves millions depressed, anxious, and angry.
You are not responsible for everything that is wrong in the world.
No one can be.