Civility is not dead

I am attending parts of the online Collective Trauma Healing Summit, led by Thomas Hubl. This morning I listened to two speakers, each about an hour long. The first was by Rev. angel Kyodo Williams, an African-American buddhist teacher and the second is by Tristan Harris, who is the co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology.

Mr. Harris gives me hope about humans learning to live with social media without continuing to be polarized and angry. He speaks about the way that many platforms work. We tend to click on things that worry us and that we are traumatized about, and the platform immediately starts feeding us more of that. In a way, Facebook and other platforms gas light us: the algorithm figures out what makes us upset and agitated and promptly feeds us more of it.

He advocates moving to more humane platforms, that aren’t built on feeding us trauma, and especially for schools and parents to do this collectively with children. He co-hosts the podcast “Your Undivided Attention” each week, so I will be looking in to that.

However, I have a second reason to be hopeful about social media. I am in more than one group now that has rules and that has administrators that enforce them. Kindness. An insect group that forbids people saying “squash it”, because it’s a group of people that are interested in insects. A physician mom group. A pacific northwest rock group and a women’s pacific northwest rock group. I am now one of the administrators for a local group and am fine with it.

Even though Facebook is still feeding us more trauma and horror if that is what we click on, people are starting to see through this and refuse. They are forming groups where insects and people aren’t squashed. Rural farm groups. Music groups. In these groups I feel that people are coming together and are working to be supportive and help each other, identifying rocks, discussing child behavior, singing together.

Each time that technology makes the world smaller and more connected, we have to relearn how to get along. With our family, then our small tribe, then a larger tribe, then cities, countries and now we can see each other the world over. If all we see is what we fear and what horrifies us in our feeds, then we need to turn it off, breathe, and look for something to calm us down. Knit. Silly cat pictures. Flowers. What gives you a feeling of peace and hope? Whatever it is, do more of it and share it.

Blessings and peace you.

I don’t know who the person in the tintype is. I think that it came from a box from my Great Aunt Esther Parr, when I was in my early teens. My sister and I divided the tintypes and used them as portraits in our china doll houses.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: obituary.