I came across a Twitter thread this morning about how pushing the limits can occasionally lead to disaster. It specifically cites the two Space Shuttle disasters, as well as some more common place examples, and ties in to personal mental health issues at the end, trying to make the point that it’s not always just the little things, but more how we get to the point, even in our daily lives, where those little things turn catastrophic.
The thread was shared by an author who has written fiction about the space program, and has done her best to get the details right, but when I shared the shared thread with a friend who is an actual engineer, he was critical of the engineering examples. “Sorry: neat idea, but terrible argument.” I didn’t spend any time in discussion with my friend, because I know he knows more than I do on this subject.
I believe that the person who wrote the original tweets was acting with good intentions and trying to make some points about fundamental truths, as she or he sees them. The post has been shared 3.8k times, and has a thousand likes. There’s nothing incredible about those numbers, but it’s clear that what they’re saying has struck a chord with people, who (like me) want to share it with others.
Now imagine what deliberate bad actors are doing, purposely crafting content and making comments to inflame our emotions, and not caring one iota whether or not what they’re saying is true.
I believe that our present culture is promoting two things that are very dangerous in combination: a disregard for truth, and a desire to feel right above anything else. It’s present in the way we receive news and facts, and in the way we interact with each other, particularly via social media. We’re turning into a world that is incredibly, amazingly connected, increasingly educated, and all we seem to want to do is yell at each other about things that we likely don’t even know much about. What’s the point of that?
I believe that our way forward is with humility and love. I do not and cannot know everything, and even things that seem logical and feel correct to me often are not, in ways large and small. When I interact with people, I will make a conscious decision to find common ground instead of making a destructive comment. I believe that nearly all of us (there are always outliers) have so much more in common than we do apart, and that building our strengths together can accomplish goals that are richer and more complex because disparate people decided that our common ground was more important than being ‘right’ about our differences.
It’s not the easy path. Being destructive, and snarky, and superior is a seductive feeling. But it doesn’t grow anything. Let’s make a world that grows together, because it’s the right thing to do.