With the rise of the internet and social media – we have access to so much information, all of the time, and not only do we have access to it, it’s practically always in front of our nose – without our asking.
I sometimes wonder if whatever we have come to know of the various ‘hot topics’ through these mediums, not only influence us, but, at times, override the valuable insight that the nature of our personal story (and of those around us) holds, too.
More than ever, it is just so easy to turn to google, or instagram, or some psychology website for answers about ourselves, others, or our sticky situations – advice is everywhere.
I do wonder how much this kind of access has changed the way we relate to those around us. It’s much easier to do that than to have a tough conversation, right? And we are humans, we are kind of wired to lean towards what is easy.
When we read online about important or sensitive topics, I just think it’s key to remember, this information isn’t real-time to us here-and-now – it doesn’t hold a wise knowledge or understanding of the personal story that lead us here.
By nature, it does not seek to understand, but offers objective information – information that could well be insightful, but that hasn’t necessarily first taken your story into account.
It would certainly be easy if it were as simple as finding the relevant information and rolling with it, without actually consulting the knowledge we hold ourselves, and the knowledge of those around us – the kind of knowledge that engaging in real relating instills in us.
What if the well-intentioned answers we see online (whether we asked for them or not) inadvertently shut us off from our real relating from others, rather than open space for conversations to be had?
What if it has us coming to premature conclusions? Ones that leave the wisdom personal insight, and the reality of our experience, in the background?
What if all of this leads us away from real life? From community? From actually dealing with whatever tough stuff comes up in real-time? From the beauty that comes from seeking to understand (and really love) others?
If the apparent answer always lies in what we read or heard somewhere else, how hard will we actually try with the people who are in front of our faces? What will the quality of our relationships with those around us be?
I think if we want to be persons that are genuinely flourishing, and to support the flourishing of others – the personal and the external insights have to always be in dialogue with each other – they need to work with each other, rather than on their own.
Leave one or the other out and we’ll lose that sense of ‘the way,’ the richness of our relationships, and, I reckon, we even lose our God-given authenticity.