What’s really important? I think we’ve forgotten.
Our opinions are being formed by others. Social media is now so powerful, so pervasive. It’s turned many of us into extremists. No subtlety, shades of colour. Just black and white, right and wrong, amazing and tragic. It’s shouting not talking.
So we get what we get. This is the environment that breeds senseless and sticky ear worms like ‘Drain the Swamp’, ‘Take Back Control’ and so on. Shorthand for those who no longer have the patience to commit to detailed or reasoned argument.
And for many just next to this online shouting sits pictures of their families, their memories, their experiences, their pictures. Where they wish each other ‘happy birthday’ and where they capture new moments so that they are recorded and found easily years after.
All this noise and bile has become interwoven with public declarations of how we feel about the people who really matter in our lives. Some would argue that this is activism. But it’s not. It’s too easy. Activism is hard. It requires commitment. It takes more than angry Facebook posts. Activists might sometimes be utterly wrong and misguided but at least they are whole hearted.
Yet it’s still easy to find real kindness, care and support. And it’s still much more powerful than anything we ‘like’. I see it every day when I run. Runners benefit hugely from shared experiences with other runners. As a community they don’t judge, they encourage. They don’t criticise, they applaud. They celebrate success and it’s thrilling when part of their community achieves what he or she wants.
Runners also don’t care where other runners come from, what they do, how old they are, what colour they are or how they vote. It doesn’t matter. And it makes running a richer experience. If you work, have a family and a close circle of friends, meeting people isn’t top priority. But running let’s you do this and it’s fantastic and enriching. It’s also important.
It seems to me that the developed world is polarising and that division for some people, particularly those who rack up thousands of Twitter posts arguing anonymously, this is progress. Maybe everyone should just go for a run.