2014-03-05

Phronesis For Nukes

I've recently started following a blog that is very much unlike the rest of what I read/post about. It's called The Lovely Twenty-Somethings. People who find their way to Stationary Waves from places like EconLog or other such websites might find it a little puffy compared to my usual material (and outside my demographic), but the fact of the matter is that there is a lot of really great practical wisdom at this website, especially with regard to happiness and positivity.

Case in point, this recent post reads in part as follows:
Once on a day like any other day I made a comment on a video on Youtube. It was nothing extreme or incredibly offensive, in fact I wrote it in a comedic fashion. It was also a comment that was pretty similar to a few others on the comment section yet within days I found myself getting messages of replies to my comment. Rude, cruel and pretty ridiculous comments. Since I am someone who is as disconnected from negativity as possible I promptly deleted my comment and the messages to avoid getting any others, not because I was embarrassed or "running away" it was simply because the weird stress is gave me by being bombarded by people I did not know (and did not know me) and the words they so easily used towards me that I have never heard directed at me in the "real world".
This dovetails nicely with my concept of intellectual nuke buttons.

When you're confronted with these nukes, there is no possible way to "win" in a satisfying way. The guy with the nuke always wins, even if he has to blow himself up in order to get there. Your choice becomes: (a) stick around and get nuked, or (b) walk away. Blogger "Nicola K" provides us with an innovative solution in that she not only chooses (b) - which is the only appropriate choice, anyway - but she also takes the time to blot out all evidence of the negativity so that it doesn't poison anyone else. Good idea.

There is one minor point she makes with which I must disagree:
Freedom of speech is a powerful thing but insulting someone, putting them down, hurting them and suggesting that they are stupid and only the person commenting is right is not a freedom of speech. It is bullying like any other teenager or child would do except there is a chance it is from a grown adult sitting at their computer with so much negativity in them they use a comment page to release this negativity possibly because they do not have " that power" in their " real" lives.
I agree that we must not consider verbal bullying a "right," at least not in a certain emotional sense of the term "right." However, saying insulting things, however hurtful, is very much within the realm of freedom of speech. Even verbal bullying - indeed, even verbal abuse - is protected free speech in the legal sense, so long as it's not slanderous. This is right and appropriate.

But it is also not really what Nicola K was writing about.