Thursday, November 5, 2009

Microcosms of Utopic Kindness

I confess, I'm a regular Facebook user.

I feel a little loath to call myself an "addict;" it's more like "social drinking," I suppose... it's nice to "have one now and then," but my life would go on without it, and I wouldn't need rehab to get over my "habit."

I don't quite have the obsession with Facebook apps many people do. I'm not checking my Farmville every five minutes. In fact, with very few exceptions, most of the apps I've agreed to allow to bug me get a visit from me about once a month. If they are lucky.

But I digress.

When I was a little kid, one of the thoughts most often running through my head was "Why can't everyone just GET ALONG?" Why did people fight and torment each other... often over "stuff?" Why was it all about "pushing others out of the way" to get things? Why did little boys and girls (my peers) turn into screaming hellions having a fit, if they "couldn't have the blue ball," or couldn't be part of some particular game? Why couldn't everyone just cooperate?

I was probably a weird kid. I was neither the "champion of the underdog" (with the exception of ONE eight-year old girl, and she knows who she is...) nor "the bully." I was the one who asked "WHY?" WHY don't we decide that we simply see things differently, rather than fight about it till someone "wins?" WHY don't we cooperate, rather than compete? WHY don't we all just try to get along?

So, what does this all have to do with Facebook? Well, Facebook is a vast wasteland of more or less mindless applications... most of which consume time, while offering little redeeming value, aside from an opportunity to zone out from our daily stress. That said, Facebook apps are also a sort of "virtual microcosm" of the greater world... in some sense reflecting Who We Are, as a species. And... the vast majority of said apps follow the general rule of "let's blow some stuff up, kill some people or steal something!"

It has been 40+ years, and the shit going down in the adult "sandbox" remains the exact same shit I railed against when I was six.

Now there are those who are going to call me humorless, and say "yeah, but it's just a GAME!" or "Well, better I kill someone in a game, than in real life." In response to which I say "I wholeheartedly agree!"

At least on the surface. On a deeper level, that's just a crock. A way to gloss over the statement "life is too hard for me to give a rat's hind quarters about anyone but me." Newsflash: Last time I checked, mindfulness did not cost money. Or time. It's a choice.

But let's return Facebook, for moment. And to the fact that there are these little microcosms of utopic kindness in that giant wasteland. Fairyland, where nothing bad ever happens. You grow things, you don't destroy them. And everybody helps everybody else tend their gardens. No stealing, no blowing up, no killing or maiming. Just a sort of utopic community of friendship and cooperation. Farm Town, another community of cooperation and growing something.

Maybe these comments are merely a reflection of my nature... but frankly? At the end of a stressful day of being "torn apart" by life (which I thankfully am no longer exposed to), I'd rather GROW or BUILD something, than blow up or destroy something.

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