'The two Fridas', by Frida Khalo.
I read quite a lot on the Internet, mainly blogs and also some digital publications. I used to stick to the article or post I was interested in and occasionlly I used to go through other user’s comments. From another point of view, my Captain tends to invest time & attention to scan quite a few of them when he is navigating through the sites that interest him. So I said to myself: if someone that I value so much spends time doing it, it must be because it is worthy. And that’s how I started to do it myself.
What have I discovered after practising it for a few weeks?
1- The more global or popular the site is, the larger the amount (and variety) of comments. This makes total sense, pure statistics: a forum with a wide tradition behind it holds more followers than a modest magazine developed by a group of young people in the mountains of Andalucía. A worldwide guru blogger with a hundred thousand fans receives many more visits & comments than this site of mine.
2- When there are many comments, three quarters of them are negative, sharp or hurtful some how, very little respect is shown towards what the author wanted to express, at least according to my view. Also, quite often the readers seem to forget about the initial content and get lost within their own speech & their clashes with other user’s opinions.
And what have I learnt from this? I learnt that we loathe what is different to us or different to what we think. We don’t like what we don’t agree with, so we launch into a nonsense crusade to prove that what the other person says is not valid and that we are holding the truth. We are right, so we defend our view over anyone who might show a different perspective.
I find the lack of respect shown by many of us worrying, the inability to accept that others think, live & act differently because actually, we are all different. Of course we will never agree with everything we read or hear. However, it is possible to express our opposition with calmness & respect. Why are we receiving their view as an attack instead of understanding it as part of their identity? What’s the point of showing lack of respect and discrediting other people’s reasons in a destructive way?
Recently I’ve discovered Jimmy Nelson, an English photographer who has been devoted to a huge & fascinating project for quite a few years: travelling the world with his camera to capture images of isolated tribes (29 of them in total) with the purpose of preserving their identity before they pass away & disappear, in the worse case scenario.
I truly encourage you to browse through Jimmy’s website to find out more about his project or at least to view some of his pictures. They are indeed incredibly beautiful & powerful. I can just stare at them, looking at those faces, into those eyes, through the depths of the sceneries… How different those people are to us and how similar at the same time!
I wonder how much we would disagree with some of their traditions, how inappropriate we would find their government rules, how wrong their ways to understand life would be.
Who are we to judge any of that? They are different to us because they’ve been born & brought up in other places, so that makes them different. They tattoo their faces, walk barefoot in the desert, their kids work from an early age, some men have several wives, some eat raw meat… So what? We understand it all, don’t we? We understand & accept that difference.
But how difficult it seems to be, understanding & accepting that our neighbour or our work colleague have this other opinion or behave in this other way? They also come from different places & backgrounds. Maybe not as exotic but definitely different.
Of course we can disagree, and we will. However, we can do it with respect, integrating the other person's differences. Otherwise our point of view will be as slanted as theirs, perhaps more so.
I don’t know if I will continue reading other people’s opinions in the blogs I visit. I must admit that I am finding it sorrowful & harsh. I don’t want to embrace any suffering if there is no need for it.
At least the experience has been useful to share this thought with you here today. I don’t know if someone will read it. If they do, I don’t know if they will agree. I would love you all to come in & pass by, leaving your comments when you feel like it, because I know that you always do it with respect.
I thank you for that & for being the way you are, even when we might not agree :)
"Alone in the woods
Leftover from a fairy tale
Granny prepares meals for a wolf
But he will not eat her cooking
It's nothing personal
It's just that she doesn't understand his
she doesn't understand his needs
And as Granny slaves over a hot stove
the wolf wanders around outside, catches
tracks her down, pounces on her, and eats
that is his nature those are his needs
It's nothing personal."
(Granny and the wolf, by Howard Camner)