Saturday, February 11, 2012


I’ve been on Facebook for about eighteen months now.  Perhaps like others who share my reluctance to make personal information available on the internet, I only joined Facebook initially because I wanted to be a part of a particular group at a particular time and ended up continuing on long after the initial purpose of joining ended.  To be specific, I wanted to participate in the Facebook site with my classmates at officer candidate school in South Carolina.  I have no big complaints about such social networking; I understand its value, especially for gregarious types and those who want to connect with others.  My Facebook friends are great, though I admittedly have relatively few.  The “blasts from the past” are a mixed blessing, however, what with people turning up from yesteryear wanting to be your friend.  (Do they really want to be your friend or are they just interested in the number count?)  Most people seem to like these kinds of connections.  I’m good on most of these rekindled relationships via the internet, but sometimes you want the past to stay in the past, no?  Well at least I do.  One thing that I’ve noticed is that many of my friends seem to trip over each other in wanting to demonstrate how liberal they are, or at least now anti-conservative they are.  Some of them, I suspect, are trying to compensate for their conservative upbringing and others simply like to wear their political heart on their sleeve.  Different strokes for different folks.

I personally would rather not know about someone’s partisan political views on Facebook, but I've learned to tune them out.  It's not a big deal.  I realize it’s an open forum to share whatever you want.  It got me thinking about the Zeitgeist, or “spirit of the age,” though.  How nice it would be to read more “outside the box” comments, or any viewpoints that don’t mirror the current political culture and social milieu that we live in.  Just sayin’.   Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not asking for right-wing comments either!  But I’m tired of the same o’ same o’.   Most of these political comments on Facebook boil down to the following: Hey, check out these backward Republicans! Or See how non-racist and enlightened I am, everyone?  Or Homophobes and anti-environmentalists make me so angry!  Never mind that such self-righteous, crackerjack commentary often entails the straw man fallacy.  It would be nice, though, to have a more diverse set of voices out there.

Again, I love my friends on Facebook, but if I’m looking for insights and a new, bold vision on life, I need to look elsewhere.  Some might say that insights on life can emerge out of status reports, responses, and counter-responses.  No, I find more useful reflections and analyses in the wisdom of the ancients (i.e., books!).  More to the point, I’ve grown weary of the usual banter from both the Left and the Right.  Until then, I’ll take these internet musings for what they are: run-of-the-mill opinions and concerns that, while not earth-shattering or risk-taking positions, can nonetheless root me in the social world.  Given my solitary-wolf leanings and willingness to walk off the face of the earth in search of enlightenment, I need such rootedness from time to time.