We live in an era where you can show your support for a cause with a single like, share, tweet, etc. through social media. Though I am in absolutely no position to judge, I do wonder how true the support is. It’s something I think about a lot, which is why I like to give careful consideration to things I agree to share via social media.
With the kind of rapid communication technology provides, it’s easy for mistakes to spread just as quickly. For example, I remember when Osama bin Laden was finally caught and executed, people were so excited. I was excited too. From a purely social media perspective, people were sharing online news articles and gathering in patriotic camaraderie that was facilitated by an online social community. It was great. Then suddenly, a quote allegedly by Martin Luther King Jr. began to float around the web in response to some people’s thrilled but violent reactions:
I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
It was a perfectly crafted quote for a perfectly appropriate time, but it was just that - crafted. The real quote is as follows:
Are we seeking power for power’s sake? Or are we seeking to make the world and our nation better places to live. If we seek the latter, violence can never provide the answer. The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Though the message of the quote is, at its core, the same, the inability for us—myself included (I wrote a blog post that included the erred quote, which I later edited to include the bona fide version)—to differentiate between what is authentic and fake has both pathetic and terrifying implications.
Thus, I encourage you—and I use this as a reminder for myself—to extensively research the causes you support. Figure out why they are important to you, and be able to justify yourself. Or maybe you already do, and that’s fantastic. But for those who are like me, pore over multiple resources with an open but critical mind. Engage in scintillating discourse with others, particularly with people whose opinions you respect.
In an age where the answer to a question can simply be “Googled” renders this society as an impatient, lazy one. We want immediate answers, and we don’t want to be bothered by the extra work it takes to determine the veracity of an answer. But we cannot feel bothered, and we cannot be lazy, because our generation has the ability to spark and create change that will inevitably affect the future. We have this kind of power. We can do this. In fact, we can do it all, but the change we create should be an educated one.
spring break in 3 minutes
it’s my final year of undergrad, and i never thought this time would come. college was and is a time of profound growth. it’s the kind of growth you don’t realize as it’s bending and almost breaking you until you wake up one day and realize you’re not the same person you were four years ago. eight years ago. ten years ago.
when i was in fifth grade, i was ten years old. now that i’ve hit my final year of schooling, i feel twenty one years young. it’s a weird feeling, knowing more and feeling jaded by time, despite my self-aware naivety. innocence, even. when i was ten, i thought i was the queen of my elementary school. i was a safety patrol, so i even had a badge to prove my royal worth. now that i’m twenty one, i’ll soon acquire what people consider to be a pretty prestigious degree, and that’ll prove my academic worth.
but take away the material things and all i have left is my heart. i often wonder about the true nature of my character. i read a book about the human conscience, which can be motivated by a number of intrinsic and/or extrinsic factors. assuming conscience plays a role in building character, you can’t tangibly measure these factors, so what determines your character, my character? there are the uplifting quotes that float around: “character is what you do when no one is watching,” but it’s much more complicated than that. not a single person may be watching, but there are and will be other factors that continue to influence our choices, because we are a flawed species.
so, i’m scared. i’m scared of becoming a person i don’t want to be. i’m scared of becoming a person i can be. and i’m scared of becoming the person i was meant to be. and yet, i hope that when all the material things are stripped from me, i can be a person of good character. a person of great character. and i hope that when i reach this point, it’s not because i place my value on people’s perceptions and other trivial things, but because i place my value on what truly matters. it’s still a work in progress, but maybe i can hold on to my safety patrol badge for old time’s sake.
dead at age 31
it’s summer time, and the living is easy… kind of. i work for loudoun county parks and rec. incidentally, it’s weird that parks and rec is a real thing, because whenever i say it, all i can think about is leslie knope. anyway, i get to work with elementary school kids at summer camp. love them, hate them, can’t live without them, that sort of deal. despite all the ups and downs, one of my consistently favorite things about these students is their logic.
there’s a high school intern for camp who is also asian, and he’s a guy. so naturally, all the campers think that we’re going to get married or are in love, even though they’ve asked us several times if we’re related. apparently, incest is okay when you’re young. one of my campers, ryan, kept asking me if i was gonna get married to the intern, and finally i said, “no, i’m gonna marry you.” then he gave me a serious look and said, “but miss stephanie, we can’t… by the time i’m in college, you’ll be dead!”