doubleslash

// - Censoring Joy

Whose responsibility is it to censor happiness?

Is it the voice or the ear? Or should the positive be censored at all?

I think that happiness should be freely dispensed, but I speak as someone who is, these days, truly happy and filled with the joy of it. I am constantly wishing I could share everything that's happening to me, to share the hope of it with people, to let everyone know that it's not impossible to find all the things you're looking for in life. I feel this way because there is a lack of joy in this world, it is a vacuum for good news. The world spits out venom and refuse daily. You don't need to look far on the internet or into advertising to see that this is true. After all, the world would have you know that the way to a good family life is paved in buying electronics and microwave dinners, and after the ads the news is filled with all manner of sad and horrible moments. Most human media is hopeless, empty, sad. It can be overwhelming. Sometimes a person's soul longs for encouragement. If some of my happiness fills some of that void, I would be pleased to see it happen.

But there's an ethical dilemma in my past and present because this is a new age for me personally. It's the first time in my life I've ever truly been happy. Many years passed in what could only be described as bitter oblivion. When it came to anything involving a woman's happiness in her family life, I was careful to avoid discussion of it because of my broken background. I avoided bridal and baby showers as well as all other women-only events save only occasional sleepovers with girls my age while I was growing up. Whenever I actually looked up, read, or talked to someone about personal happiness it was often a method of self-punishment. But I always believed that it was my own responsibility to either be happy in someone's happiness if I was able, or to avoid expressing my discontent in any unhealthy way if I was in a bad space. More or less I feel I succeeded in this. Even if at times it was impossible for me to be truly happy for someone else, I knew that had a lot more to do with me and my background and failings than it did with their happiness. So I always considered it my responsibility to either censor my eyes and ears or accept the happiness of others, and to some degree also their sadness. And many times I rejoiced with those who were rejoicing, and it improved both my mood and the state of my hope.

Like many people, I have an aversion to the "emo" lifestyle where a person wears sadness like a daily costume and ensures that everyone can see it. I say this without hypocrisy these days, though I was a part of the first teenage generation who logged all their depressed thoughts via the internet medium. In my case it was not really a cry for attention but a form of personally available and safe therapy, and this is true of many others on the internet as well in my opinion. A person can choose to avoid sentiments of woe and hopelessness, and I have made that choice with the media of other people and continue to do so. It still does not matter to me who reads my public writing, though if someone reads and critiques it I will pay attention to what they have to say and judge if it has merit. So I agree with most people that too much sadness on a public forum can be obnoxious, but should the same idea apply to happiness? If a person brags constantly about their happiness (exhibiting only self-importance) and is completely insensitive to those around them, obviously they should evaluate what they are doing. But on the internet this is harder to judge since the observer of internet media is nearly always faceless. Can and should we broadcast our happiness publicly via an internet-based avatar in light of this?

I had a conversation with someone recently about how Facebook and other internet media are impersonal and therefore personal things shouldn't be posted on them. But is the medium itself impersonal, or are we making it so because of our nature or culture? It's actually a good question to ask ourselves in this internet driven age of mankind. Is it the nature of internet culture to be impersonal, or the nature of man? Is it the way human beings handle each other only in this generation, keeping safe distance and withholding trust? History would suggest that though our methods of maintaining human distance have changed from era to era and place to place, many societies have maintained a distance, some more obviously than others. Other societies seem less distanced, but admittedly such societies are ones that many of us, though we might hide the opinion behind a mask of political correctness, consider less advanced. And perhaps the exotic nature of some of the societies I have in mind is keeping us at a distance as well, without allowing a true read of their culture. Perhaps their methods of distancing themselves from each other in such close-knit society, driven by wants and needs, is far more advanced than ours. I would guess that the latter is true. The cycle of poverty and riches also has something to do with these ideas, I think. The rich can afford more internal walls than the poor can, and I would say that's likely universal.

Perhaps we are naturally closed as human beings, and making the internet personal would be a violation of some general human code of distancing. Perhaps the opposite is true, and the reason that internet media has exploded in the way that it has is that human beings have a natural tendency to openness. There are a wide variety of opinions on this topic. For those of us who, like myself, have an artistic bent in words and enjoy the public eye, it is the most natural thing to post details about life on any forum, and my experience tells me that people eat it up. Whatever emotion that life brings to the forefront is what I say, and I have had many good experiences of people sharing life with me via the internet.

Many people throw around freedom of speech as an excuse to speak hurtfully or ignorantly. I do not believe in that idea of freedom. One should always be careful with freedom. It can quickly dissolve into anarchy and create more problems than it solved. So I believe that there should be responsibility even for the semi-autonomous avatar of a blog or a Facebook profile. It is, after all, an extension of self.

But in the question of the censorship of joy, pleasure, and happiness, I don't see a problem with posting to any personal avatar on the internet, with responsibility. The more I consider how much of our human media is an illustration of the sad mess we've made of Earth, the less apologetic I am for plastering my internet presence with my happiness, with a message that the hope of a life that people dream about is sometimes rewarded with reality. It sure beats a lot of the "news" that we see daily. Whether a person comes to these stories from personal sadness or happiness is not quite the point from my perspective - the point is that these words are the antidote to my old, sad words, and they need to be explored and posted with the same intensity. I had hoped that they would encourage. I hope that they do. I honestly take no responsibility for those who come to my words in bitterness and respond negatively. That always happens when people share their dreams, and the libel increases when the dreams come true. And sometimes a description of life can sound like bragging when it's just what really happened.

I am open, and I always have been. But I am easy enough to avoid. Everything on the internet is easy enough to avoid. If nothing else, you can turn off your computer and walk out into your real life. Maybe if our generation spent more time in front of faces than screens, the impersonal state of internet media wouldn't matter anymore. But until the face of the internet evolves into something more specific, I will continue to broadcast my emotions to the unknown, the the anonymous, to any person who reads these words. If I can only offer a blip of hope, I feel responsible to do so.

//

(1) - [The Beginning, the Story of Doubleslash] (2) - [The Dream] (3) - [Non-Existence] (4) - [Heterodox] (5) - [Forgotten] (6) - [Know Your Enemy] (7) - [Junkies] (8) - [Descent into Blindness] (9) - [Speaker for the Dead] (10) - [The System is Down] (11) - [Inequality] (12) – [Heterodox Revisited] (13) - [The Unsustainable] (14) - [All the Zeros in Zimbabwe] (15) - [Bullets] (16) - [Balancing Act 1 (Merely Players)] {hidden//exposed} (17) - [The Physical] (18) - [Censoring Joy]