Online games, web boards, mailing lists... all of them, you run into arguments. People will take the 'I call free speech, I can say whatever I want' argument. People call all sorts of things. And eventually, it seems more often to end in a big gooey mess than it does in any sort of real resolution.
I hate it when it happens. I hate being caught between friends, I hate being caught in a 'take sides' situation. Especially since neither side is doing anything 'to be evil'. But a situation turns into misunderstanding, misunderstanding snowballs into resentment, and eventually it boils over and explodes due to the pressure. Eventually someone vents about things in various venues, and it spreads to others, and so it starts to look like 'smearing'. Or someone gets fed up and goes to the host or hostess to try and work it out, and so it becomes 'running for the big guns.'
It's stupid. It's senseless, pointless, and just plain DUMB that this happens so often in some many venues. Web boards or mailing lists turn to flamewars, online games turn into disagreements and infighting between groups. And eventually it ends - usually in an explosion that obliterates one party from whatever venue - and things quiet down, until the next situation snowballs.
Are human beings so inherently unable to get along that this is truly such a common occurance? Is it part of the Internet phenomenom?
If you don't have to face a person personally, but are divorced by the anonymity of a text medium separating you, is it so much easier to not have to examine your actions? I see people do things online and believe they did nothing wrong, when I know they would know better if they were trying it in reality.
Am I naive for thinking that people should simply try to get along? I know I have more fun when people get along than when they conflict and argue and fight; unlike some others, I don't thrive on conflict. Or rather, I thrive on conflict in stories...but not on vitriolic conflict in my personal relationships. Do others really find conflict - having someone to rail against, vent about, smear, whatever - really so fulfilling?
Bleah. The sun is slowly going down outside, casting shadows from the skyscrapers across the city below. From up near the top of the second-tallest building in town, I can see a patchwork of light and dark spots, the shadow of our building and others reaching for blocks and blocks across the little buildings across the freeway. Spots of warm, bright sunlight among fields of colder shadows. As I look out over the smaller buildings in the distance, they look warm and sunny, bright and without shadows... yet I know that if I got closer, they simply cast smaller shadows which are hidden between them, unseen from my vantage point. In the distance, the Cascades are visible, so crisp and clear against the late afternoon sky that I can make out the glistening of individual glaciers on the slopes; it feels as though I can reach out and touch them...even though I know they're hopelessly far away. They seem gilt in gold along the edges, as the sunlight turns orange, hopelessly bright and shining...yet I know they cast a shadow so big I can't even perceive it as a shadow.
I ponder this while I pack my backpack up, preparing to go home. I'll go get into Skuld, pay my horrific parking fee, and join the mass of humanity stuck slowly moving along that ribbon of highway below me. From down there, I'll only perceive the shadows on the landscape as a sudden dimness in the light around me, a suddenly colder feeling on the skin of my face and arms before I pass into sunlight again. From there, I can't see as clearly where the shadows lay on the ground - where they begin and end - until I have passed into them.
Is that a metaphor for life? Is every patch of fun, of happiness - every spot of sunlight - so inevitably intertwined in darkness? Everything we build and find joy in so hopelessly destined to cast a shadow on someone eventually? Shadows we cannot even see until we are upon them, when they cast a chill on our world and a darkness over our sight?
Perhaps I need to stop skipping lunch to get things done at work; maybe I'd feel less philosophical if I had a higher blood-sugar. Perhaps I need to listen to bubblegum pop when I look out the windows up here. Perhaps my heart is too gentle at times, and takes in pain around me too readily...despairing at being able to cure it for everyone. Many thoughts like this go through my head as I send off a report, gather up several papers, and begin to pack my backpack.
From up here, the shadows seem so clear; one lays there, and it could be gone around through this other road here...another one can be detoured around here. I know they won't seem so clear soon.
I shoulder my backpack, wish my lingering co-workers a good evening...and descend among the shadows.