CEBU

Carvajal: Facebook woes

Break Point

JUST recently I’ve had to delete a comment that soon after I realized was precipitate and violated my personal rule of conduct on Facebook. I called somebody shit-brained whose side of an issue I strongly disagreed with; and the rule I have set for myself is to disagree on the level of ideas and facts, their underpinnings and ramifications, and never to soil a person’s character.

This rule keeps me from using ad hominem arguments like name-calls of idiot, retard, shit-brained, etc., insults of the other’s intelligence, and other forms of character assassination. I’m sure there would be times when I fail this rule but I do try to live my belief and desire that we converse as educated and well-intentioned fellow countrypersons and not argue angrily as enemies from heavily fortified positions.

I came up with this rule when I decided to stay on Facebook after days of agonizing with the option to bail out. I struggled with the idea because I was sick with all the negativity on Facebook. People are disagreeing by trading insults and profanities instead of rational counter arguments. The mother country is not going anywhere if her sons and daughters behave this way.

Let me bring home this point using Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s (1770-1831) philosophy that can be summarized into “only the rational is real.” Thus, if we are not rational in our discourse, we are not talking real ideas but imagined bad attributes of the person we are arguing with.

This is a fatal aberration in the realm of Hegel’s dialectic of “thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.” The nation’s problem is the thesis; but we cannot arrive at a synthesis (solution) because our antithesis of insults, name-calls, etc. are not rational and, therefore, not real. Come to think of it, you don’t build a nation on insults. You build it by pooling together and synthesizing the rational thoughts and actions of all its citizens.

(Because of this rule I must confess I have actually un-followed (and will un-follow) friends who insult, call other people names or otherwise demolish the character of a person whose posts they disagree with.)

We cannot move forward if we engage in political discourse to discredit and not to come to a synthesis. Like the opposition calls Duterte names, disrespects him and wants him out for failing to solve our problems. But isn’t it that no previous administration has ever solved our problems but only made them worse so that Duterte now has the hardest time of all solving them?

Let’s get real. Let’s come up with a rational anti-thesis to our problems like a peaceful way of dismantling the oligarchy (not simply Duterte’s faction) so we can arrive at a synthesis of a truly egalitarian new social order.


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