I find the very idea that I would ever argue against the internet completely preposterous. As a pornographic panorama of information-wielding bits and bytes nearing infinity or some garden choked Eden of Golgotha it’s more than an input junkie such as myself could have ever hoped for in this lifetime. The internet’s previously unprecedented acceptance and methodical urging of semi-sensical meandering towards questionable knowledge, welcomed distractions, and utterly blessed inanities warms the very cockles of my heart and makes a single discouraging word stick in my throat (like that weird little tickle that a cough won’t catch, which Google will happily land you on methods to treat at home).
I love the internet. Seemingly, so does the majority of the world and some of those other cyberspace loving folks have helped to allow some rather glaring irritants into my electronic eye. (By the by, I’ll praise them later for muddying the waters, but now is for condemnation.)
Here’s a small, personal cross-section of how the internet is lying to us:
1. Forgiveness is essential to moving on. Nope. Forgiveness is great for moving on, but you needn’t forgive another person a wrongdoing to get past it. If you’ve been wronged by another there’s not a reason in the world to justify their behavior with your expectations of decency. What you do need to do is move past the occurrence without allowing it to continue to consume your efforts in a life that you find decent. You may need to forgive yourself for your complicity in the situation, but distancing yourself from a harmful person is more than enough to grow from the experience. Forgiveness may be divine, but people tend to define things through their opposites. Loving a certain behavior because you’ve dealt with its counter is not a sign of weakness, allowing it to recur and govern your life is. Hate as much as you like, but do so idly. Love actively.
2. Recognizing signs of indiscretion. Be aware, but be aware that hindsight is so much more encompassing. We project. We find exactly what we’re looking for. Twenty signs that your lover is cheating on you or that your best friend is lying to you are all well and good, but you’ll never be sure until after the fact. Every relationship is an island of shared experiences between two people. Recognizing white elephants in small rooms is a quality of perception generally reserved to perceptive people after the fact. We’re all experts when it comes to history, but every one of us is forging a new route through whatever every day. Don’t beat yourself up for seeing something later. Everything is later. Present tense only exists in literature. The rest of us figure it out after it’s already happened.
3. Nice guys finish last. No, they don’t. Nice guys are just nice guys. If they’re finishing last, they’re in the wrong race. If you perceive niceties as a weakness take a moment to consider that the cat before you may well be able to brain you like a baby seal, but does not do so as it’s not really polite. (It’s entirely possible; I’ve hung out with those cats and they tend to be groovy as hell.) If you’re lamenting that your friend is always dating the wrong people chances are that you’re merely misplacing your feelings as logical solutions to another’s emotions. Emotions are not logical. Even logical people are not logical. We are, largely, governed by emotions. In retrospect we may find inconsistencies and failings in our approaches. Being nice to people is rarely one of those things that classifies as a failing. Dicken’s didn’t entirely amend Great Expectations to allow Pip to end with Estella, but those of us that had those impossible crushes know: Pip was never going to marry Estella. Estella wasn’t merely wrong for Pip; she was a pain in the ass who could never have made him happy. Pip was a nice guy, but never quite grew up. As an amendment to my original statement, nice guys may finish last, but a nice man will not. A truly nice man won’t even whine about it.
4. Honesty is the best policy. Honesty is not a bad policy, but there are insanely numerous situations where it’s just not tactful. Sometimes, lying through your teeth and merely being supportive is the way to go. After all, just how much do you really know about anything? When a dear friend has obviously gained something from some artistic endeavor that leaves me in the lurch, who am I to point out that I find it to be pure drivel and seemingly formulaic? Situations and relationships dictate the level of your honesty. I don’t like lies; they taste oily, but I get them. I understand. Situationally. Telling me that you’re honest with everyone automatically makes me wonder if you’ve any empathy or if you’re one of those folks that simply know so much more than anybody else. There are friends of whom I respect their honesty and there are honest people that I suspect of merely being lightweight sadists with superiority complexes.
5. If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. This one makes my bile rise. The person that penned this little nugget of wisdom apparently studied little Buddhism or never bothered to extrapolate the scientific theory of relativity into the realm of consciousness. Or never heard of personal reality tunnels. Or, seemingly, had no respect for other trains of thought and tenets different from their own. Maybe they simply considered vociferousness and assurance of knowledge as measures of decency and thought while, quite possibly, condemning any acceptance of societal, cultural, and/or personal differences as weakness and ignorance. Maybe the person that proliferated this irritatingly glib and thinly veiled aphoristic horse-shit was just an asshole. I might forgive this guy. I might not. Honestly.