Umm, is she wrong?

I was perusing Facebook after all of the Florida shooting stories. Shocking that none of the normal gun freaks were speaking up in the aftermath.

Anyway, not the point here.

I came across the post above, and was struck by something. Number one, my aunt left a comment on the post that said “Thank you, Mr. Vice President.” Sigh. Number two, Joy Behar is not altogether wrong for saying what she said.

Think about it. If I publicly ran for office and said I discuss my issues and problems with my imaginary friend named Alan, people would say I was crazy.

“No, no, he’s my spiral advisor,” I would say.

And they’d call me even crazier.

And you know what, they’d be right. Because I’d be talking to someone (or something) THAT’S NOT REAL. There is no Alan. Just like there is no Jesus listening to you or talking to you.

It’s not there. It’s not real.

So, I would question my aunt. Why do you say “Thank you, Mr. Vice President”? Because you talk to imaginary friends, too? Is that ok? And if it is, I would presume you’d support any candidate or leader that talks to an imaginary bunny rabbit, right? Or a robot? Or what about an alien?

Those things are just as “real” as Jesus. (Oh, and by the way, there are “religions” that don’t believe in Jesus either, so it’s not just coming from this atheist.)

FFS

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To Be Understood

Someone once asked me why I write and publish this blog. Why take the time to write down my thoughts?

Like so many times before, this got me thinking beyond just the question asked of me. It got me thinking of people in general. And not just blogs. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, other types of social media. Why do we put these things out in the universe for people to read or look at? What do we gain from it? What do our “friends” gain from it?

In perusing my own Facebook stream, there are posts and pictures on all kinds of topics. As of right this minute, I see posts about the death of Robin Williams, an update from my mother-in-law on her television watching habits, and loads of pictures of others’ little ones. Pictures of children, specifically, litter my feed on a daily basis. In the past, I’ve seen people share things from stories of tearing tendons in their pinky toes to asking for prayers for their family. I’ve seen announcements of death. I’ve seen announcements of birth. I’ve seen sadness, grief, happiness, joy.

All online for their friends to read, share, experience. For the world to read.

Why?

For all intents and purposes (thank you, mom, for that ingrained saying), these people are strangers in our everyday lives. They know of us, but they don’t know us. Not like our spouses know us. Not like our brothers and sisters know us. Our closest friends. Even our kids.

Yet, we let them in and share things that once were considered deeply personal. Our anguish, our bliss, our excitement. And in Instagram’s case, even our dinner.

Again, why do we do it?

I think we, as human beings, crave to be understood. We want to be accepted. If not in a specific group or team, then in society as a whole. We try to conform. And even when we actively rebel against conformity, we end up joining a group of others who have also decided to rebel. We want to belong.

Back in 2011, I started this blog with the intent of sharing my thoughts on happenings and experiences in my own life. Stories I had read, events I had witnessed (or been a part of), shows I had watched, thoughts that whirl around in my wandering mind from time to time. It was an outlet.

But more importantly, it was me sharing my own thoughts with others, hoping they would understand me a little better. Hoping they would get a glimpse of what makes me tick, make them see who I really am. In public, depending on how you know me, I am a joker guy, a serious work guy, and/or a wings and beer sports watching guy. (Jayme likes to say the fact that I prefer boneless wings instead of bone-in tends to negate my macho guy persona.)

But what people don’t always realize is that I am actually a very thoughtful guy, in the sense that I sit around pondering random thoughts and playing out various scenarios to their sometimes extreme end. I will watch movies and find myself lost in various thoughts that have nothing to do with the actual plot. And in all of these thoughts and ponderings, I wonder what other people think. How they would respond to the same questions. How they process information differently than me. Are they right? Am I right? Is there a right?

So, to answer that question for others wondering the same thing, I put my thoughts down on (digital) paper. I write posts like this one on understanding things, so you can understand me.

Understand?

Facebook FUD

Let me start out by saying this: I am in NO way a huge fan of Facebook. I like it for what it does and if it stayed the way it was 2-3 years ago, that would be fine by me. For my use case, which is simple message and photo sharing with my family and close friends, it works remarkably well and is pretty damn reliable. (I should be clear, the service itself is reliable, regardless of how much the iOS apps for iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad blow, respectively.)

Having said that, I heard someone say the following in a recent roundtable episode of one of my podcasts: “People would use the Internet 20% less if Facebook didn’t exist. They’re just less social. Who knows, maybe they’d go outside and ride a bike. Enjoy their friends. Socialize.”

Umm, what?!

First of all, if Facebook didn’t exist, people would find something else (anything else) to fill the time. The people that don’t go outside because they like to play and socialize on the Internet, guess what, don’t like to go outside for the most part anyway. They like staying inside. They like playing on the Internet. They probably don’t like going outside, much less riding their bike.

I’m going to put all the health issues with the above assertions aside, because in the end, its up to the person to make that decision. But, why are going outside and attempting to socialize with real people automatically viewed as “better”? What if you are really close to someone who lives far away? What if your loved one is only (easily) available via the Internet/Facebook? Why is that so bad? Like real-life interactions are always so frickin’ great?! Really?!

It just annoys me when people turn up their noses on those people, like they’re so much damn better than they are because they don’t “need” the Internet as others do and can therefore write it off as child’s play. Elitism, plain and simple.

Just a pet peeve of mine that happened to surface when I heard that comment.