Acid Hate: The Bubonic Plague of the Internet

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
How is it contracted and how does it spread?

Submitted: November 15, 2018

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Submitted: November 15, 2018

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Life is hard. There’s no disputing that. There are no degrees of hard either. Hard is hard, whether you live in a first or third world country. It’s no wonder we try to escape. If that be a universal truth, then why do we drag the hard of one world into the next world, when we have the choice to keep that latter world simple and beautiful.

 

The internet, with it’s Facebook and it’s Twitter (and a plethora of other networks), can act as another world. In that world we can reinvent ourselves. In that world we can be attractive, talented, intelligent. We can have opinions that differ. We can be an authority in any subject that we are passionate about. Why not create a world that represents our idea of a better world?

 

Alas, that has not been the case for many. Instead there is acid hate. There they choose to show the corrupted version of themselves. While the physical world is full of misery, they manufacture more misery in the world of their invention. Is it that, if they are miserable in one, they will seek misery in the other? A thought popped into my head just now. It reminds me of people who bitch about politics yet do not vote. You would think that, with the potential for good that the internet world possesses, that world would become an oasis for them.

 

I went searching for utopia today. This need to find it came on the heals of acid hate that I read in something posted to a group that I admin. This group was created for scientific discussion and by it’s very nature, is scientific. That is to say that the information in the postings are not up for debate. The information itself. The studies have been conducted, it has been hashed and rehashed, and after all the peers have reviewed it, that information is now a matter of consensus.

 

Never the less, acid hate abounds. It exists as commentary on personal matters. How do you attach a persons choice of hairstyle to an agreed upon statistic? How does a picture of a persons car, tucked away deep inside their profile, have anything to do with the scientific subject being discussed? I would never have thought that reasonable, educated adults could devolve as they do, especially when they know that they can’t be physically confronted.

 

I have seen manifestations of this in weirder internet spaces. Take, for example, places that normally serve as a magnet for openness and kindness. In a poetry site that I visit, there exist a forum where you can post drafts and ideas for projects that you are working on. Poetry, by it’s very nature, draws deep thinkers and fosters openness. Yet, acid hate abounds.

 

I wanted to post my appreciation for someones draft when I noticed that the post had gone south. What was showing up were posts berating the author. Curiosity got the better of me so I went in search for the origin of the trouble. Remember, I was on the forum to give a compliment. The post that started the ball rolling was about how this guy was sick to death of others claiming a work as original. Don’t get me wrong, I dislike plagiarism as much as the next guy. Even though the author of the work in question defended his position as the author, still the acid hate abounded.

 

Is it because the accuser lives a miserable life on the outside? Or maybe he lives a charmed life and is experimenting with what the masses must endure. It may be that he wanted to act as perpetrator, playing at a fantasy as a psychological serial killer perhaps. Either way it feels like a sickness has taken over the internet; the bubonic plague of cyberspace. I wonder if it has the same mortality rate. It might not kill, but it does leave it’s victims disfigured and scarred.

 

Like with any infectious disease, we need to protect ourselves from being infected. The person that is sickened can still make decisions and is aware of their actions, but they are unaware of the consequences of those actions. Being aware of how something you say will effect someone else, requires empathy. Human beings have been endowed with the innate ability to “walk a mile” in someone else’s shoes. This ability is what is attacked by this new internet plague.

 

Speaking of pandemic, Merriam-Webster describes it as, “prevalent over a whole country or the world”. Synonyms of the word are: widespread, pervasive, rife, rampant. Has this attack on the ability to feel empathy gone pandemic? I think so.

 

It is already an epidemic. Epidemic is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time. It has been my experience that, if enough time has passed in the life of a post, you will find examples of people who have been infected with this disease. If this were to be an actual disease, caused by a virus or bacterium for example, the CDC and other organizations tasked with monitoring the health and well being of a community would certainly sound the alarm.

 

How insidious is this illness? It has been said by those against the use of drones in warfare, that the act of ending human life, while not seeing the outcome, is dangerous. It is dangerous because it is too easy. I am not saying that drone operators do not feel any remorse or stress. What I am saying is that it becomes too easy for the generals and decision makers when they are not faced with the carnage or devastation. When they know that a strike will not effect young lives on their side, why not?

 

Internet hate works the same way. None of us wants to say something hurtful and have to watch the person’s reaction. If a person that you were facing physically suddenly started to cry because of something you said, you would at least feel uncomfortable, maybe even regretful. The internet insulates the hater from seeing or feeling how and what his actions affected in the other person’s life. It may have just made the person sad, or it may have been the “straw that broke the camel’s back” leading to suicide.

 

In this miserable physical world I would never knowingly and purposely hurt another person. In the world of my making, my internet world, I certainly would never taint it with hurtful actions. How can anyone of us want a better world, on one hand, yet when we are given the opportunity to be the creators, create a horrible one?

 

Just like on the playground, if a child is playing rough and hurting another child, he should be removed and reprimanded. Sometimes things take care of themselves. Other children will start to avoid the mean kid and refuse to play with him. Those of us playing in cyberspace, should refuse to accept the actions of the haters there. The haters will eventually be ousted from the online community or they will find that no one responds to their comments. This is the cure for the disease.

 

More than a cure, we need a vaccine. How do you inoculate against a lack of empathy? I don’t know. For now I will spread my love and kindness in hopes that it will boost the immune systems of whomever I meet. Because, if there is no known cure, there always exists psychological antioxidants that remove the free radicals of hate.

 


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