It has been two months since the world decided to spiral into a series of not-so-fortunate events, and it has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride for everyone across the globe. The last two decades have been the golden age for social media, with the rise of big names such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat blowing up on people’s radars. It has not only connected us across the world, but has also manifested itself in a way that it has enabled us to detach ourselves and think rationally (or so I hope). Interpersonal communication has become second nature to anyone with an internet connection. It is easy to access and provide information on platforms like Reddit and Twitter – then why does the world have such a hard time grappling with judgments of morality? There is such a disconnect when it comes deciding what is right and wrong. Why is that?
We surround ourselves with things that put our mind at ease, and as social creatures, our surroundings speak a lot about who we are, whether it’s the people we choose to have around us, or the routines we follow every day. We build this set-up over our entire lives, and we get really comfortable in this familiar environment.
The pandemic sent all of this into a disarray, and more often than not, anarchists tend to thrive in these situations of chaos. This unrest, this disturbance of the norm, is what they want every other day of their lives. We’re also curious as a species, and we look for a purpose to work towards so that our lives acquire some semblance of meaning. The peace of mind that we struggle to hold on to mostly comes from our peers and the like-minded individuals we do surround ourselves with.
(Image credits: The Wall Street Journal)
“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos,” says Donna Karan, a fashion designer who exudes these sentiments in a New York Times interview, pondering over this very idea. Although she speaks about this in the context of being able to tune into her creative side, we can apply this thought to how we communicate our thoughts and intentions.
Skewed rhetoric is the plight of this century, as it has always been. It’s just as important now as it was during the rise and fall of the Nazi regime, and it has proven to be an important tool to put across ideologies that would otherwise be scoffed at by the general public. Our intentions may stem from a wide range of ideologies, but rhetoric helps us mask it all, by layering it with enough icing to appeal to the majority of the population.
Opinions that are formed after consuming skewed rhetoric make discourses on social media “feisty”, invigorates conversations about issues we need to talk about, and stresses the importance of advocating for the right causes. Skewed rhetoric helps people
who take the moral high horse become an opinion leader to their followers. The world can be looked at the same way we look at another person, either starkly polarized, or layered – much like an onion!
The former is what most of us resort to because it’s easier to see the world through a lens of what you know and what you have been conditioned to believe is right and wrong. But the onion? It reveals so much more.
Tuning into the news, realizing how stories are framed and being exposed to everything that’s wrong with the world today can take quite the toll on our mental health. Some speculate that if you have a pre-existing psychological condition, you may be affected by this pandemic much more compared to a “normal person”. Some people speculate that this is a result of a collective trauma we could be experiencing. Then again, the trauma we go through alone affects us just as much, it renders us unable to go about our lives the same distracted way we once did. This has created a dissonance with what we hope and wish to do with our existence.
“Chaos is what we’ve lost touch with. This is why it is given a bad name. It is feared by the dominant archetype of our world, which is Ego, which clenches because its existence is defined in terms of control,” says Terence McKenna.
All radical ideas that have stemmed in the history of mankind have one obvious ingredient in common – human emotion. Subversive thoughts and actions come from strong, distinctly human emotions, and some of these catch on quickly within a group or a community. Sometimes, if it’s revolutionary enough, it may even grow to appeal to an entire nation. Privilege comes with the power to opt for the right assistance. Life-changing habits arise from understanding the nuances of why we want to change for the better, or do great things for our world. It’s left to us to find the calm in the chaos of our muddled minds.
-Written by: Adhithya Shankar
Feature Image Credits: Gelbooru