-DIVERSIONS WITH DAVE-
By David Ficarri
Friends of mine were having a little debate on whether social media was helping or hurting society.
One adamantly said it was hurting while the other pointed out its benefits. When they asked for my input, I simply replied, “maybe.” Of course, my answer satisfied neither.
When they pressed me to elaborate, I showed them a YouTube video from a channel named After Skool.
The video is by a man named Alan Watts who I never really listened to before, but he has an interesting way of viewing the world. In the video, he tells the story of a farmer whose horse runs away. When his neighbors tell him that’s too bad, he simply replies, “maybe.”
The next day, the horse returned with seven wild horses and the people all said, isn’t that great. Again, the farmer replied “maybe.” The day after, his son was trying to tame the horses, got thrown off and broke his leg. They all said well that’s too bad. The farmer said “maybe.”
Another day later, the military came around looking for soldiers but rejected the son with the broken leg. The neighbors all said, isn’t that wonderful. Of course, his reply was “maybe.”
Watts explains that nature is complex and it’s impossible to tell if anything that happens in it is good or bad because you’ll never know what will be the consequences of the fortune or misfortune.
Which brings us back to the original topic of social media. Like weapons, fire, or just about any other tool, social media isn’t inherently good or bad. In the right circumstances, it has enhanced relationships, helped find missing people, or shared beautiful life moments. On the flip side, it causes or exacerbates all the negativity life has to offer and has helped to ruin relationships.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gravitated more to the Watts style of thinking.
Life is complex, often impossible to figure out and just when you think things are one way, they reveal themselves as the opposite.
The job you thought was a dream job was in fact a nightmare. A person you’d never imagine dating turns out to be life’s little blessing.
People you thought would be friends for life turn on you while people you randomly come across treat you as family.
So, when fortune or misfortune comes your way, keep in mind they’re often temporary and likely to change. Social media is merely a microcosm of society, just with more instant results.
As for my columns, “maybe” they make your life better.