I remember when I was diagnosed with Ebola.
It was a warm September morning…well, they were all warm during that stretch. The air outside clung tightly still to the moisture of the humid summer, not yet ready to give way to autumn’s crisp vacancy.
I remember the room turning as the doctor affirmed the suspicions raised by his adornment of full hazmat garb upon entering, as if the world behind the walls had sunk its teeth into the mortar and begun to spin off aimlessly into the ether. His voice fading into the distance as we spiraled towards the cosmos, weakening my grip on the cold steel rim of the bed.
I remember losing hold, the smack of my bones against the tile as I collapsed to the floor. I remember making all of this up and never having Ebola.
But if you roll back your newsfeed to 2014 you’ll recall that the general consensus was that, if we weren’t already infected, we were mere moments from succumbing to the strain. Surely this was the end of civilization as we know it.
Then on a chilly November night in Ferguson, Missouri, as it was learned that Darren Wilson wasn’t going to be indicted for the killing of Michael Brown, the Hot Zone abated and popular opinion shifted its focused to the undeniable truth that we were all going to be murdered either by minorities or police officers as the precipice of civil tolerance had been crossed and there was no turning back.
Well, if you’re reading this that means you’ve managed to survive to the far-off bizarro-world of 2017, so congrats on that.
Here’s the deal kids. Whether it’s miniature virulent outbreaks, perceived social injustices or Pete Carroll’s shitty play calling, the most pervasive societal effect of an era marked by a perpetually increasing speed, in regards to the flow of information, is a seemingly determined lack objectivity and, more disappointingly, common sense among contributors.
The arena of publicized individual opinion, once inhabited only by a select few whose presence could be attributed either to a substantial amount of resources or unarguably justified on merit, is now teeming with the mindless assertions and unwarranted assurance of a generation that seems hell bent on defining itself by its utter disregard for the laws of reason.
When it comes to the sharing of ideas, the concept of shooting first and asking questions later has given way to an unwavering commitment to shooting first, never asking questions, rejecting logical answers and, when all else fails, correcting the spelling mistakes of our counterparts.
And what do we get for our troubles?
What productive or progressive purpose is served by clinging so tightly to our allegiances, acting so vehemently upon our largely unfounded beliefs?
The truth is, any desire for contribution to the greater good is, and always will be, extinguished by the inherently human need to be affirmed. It is in our nature to care more about being right than being honest with ourselves.
It’s the combination of this affliction and a rigid adherence to a groupthink methodology of approaching the issues of the day that has resulted in a social fabric that becomes more tattered, less reasonable, and yet somehow more sure of itself by the day.
Put more plainly, the healthiest beverage the majority of Americans can consume in 2017 is a tall glass of “Shut the fuck up.”
If we are to ever build the world we so condescendingly claim we aspire to, the first step in its construction must be a commitment to behaving in a more objective manner. The world is in no danger of crumbling beneath us, and, even if it were, your dumbass, misinformed tirade isn’t saving it.
But it is an inarguable certainty that the beginning of humankind’s eventual collapse will be its lack of interest in the continuing of impartial and unbiased communication and education.
Our only chance at the brighter future we desire is the embracing of an ideology that suggests it’s okay not to know everything, and to use that as a foundation upon which to enlighten ourselves rather than a platform on which to plant our feet as we attempt to mask our intellectual shortcomings by screaming louder than our peers.
Stop talking so much. Start learning more. Realize the world is still beautiful, and embrace the opportunity to explore its intricacies.