Since this is a blog, so let us take blogging. I started blogging in May this year. A friend of mine asked me why hadn’t shared what I wrote all this while. So, where was I until May. Did I suddenly start writing? Of course not. I just wasn’t sharing it with anyone. Why? For me, it was fear. Fear that I would be judged. That I would be vulnerable to other’s opinions. That I would lose control and the power that came with it.
Politics there days is so divided. Things that politicians say about each other is so rude and indifferent. But was this always so? No it wasn’t. In US, families of politicians used to know each other, their children went to same schools – this was true for politicians from different parties too. It is very different to say crap about the other person when your children study in the same school, isn’t it?
Today, the verbal personal attacks happen with so much impunity that it has become a new normal.Social media has mad it even worse. We can abuse the other person without even knowing them. That is, in a way, the ultimate power or atleast the perception of it. Because if those two persons actually knew one another in real life, instead of judging by a few tweets or posts, the conversations would be civil.
I was watching a 1998 movie “You’ve got mail” played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. They connect over an internet mailing service and form a bond. While in real life they are business competitors, they don’t know that when they connect over mail. When Tom gets to know that it is Meg who he has been writing to all this while, it complicates things. (Watch the movie if you haven’t already!)
Well, you know it is just a movie! – you would say. But it is? Think about it. Don’t we all, however famous, like to be a little unknown.
Suppose you meet a person, say B, on Facebook or an online dating website. Mostly these networks are ‘supposed’ depict the best (or the perceived best ) of a person. So, you like that B reads a lot of books. You talk about reading. Or say B is an actor and you connect over it. But is that all there is to the person? Is that, what you talk to B about, all there is to you? Will you want to meet him/her in person? Will B turn out to be just as you had imagined?
Whether you do meet or you don’t is a matter of personal inclinations, whether you are more or less inter-personal. But I think that there is some weight to the idea that not knowing gives us a sense of control, making us less vulnerable. It becomes much easier to judge someone ( rather their tweets or posts or blogs, to be certain) rather than expose yourself to be judged by someone.
But that doesn’t qualify a generic statement – that not knowing gives us some power – does it? No, of course not.
This not knowing business has its own charms, doesn’t it?