Hashtagged rhetoric is not the path to reasonable discourse.

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

It’s not enough to just call out problems and criticize them. We have to ask ourselves: how do we call out the problem without adding to the noise? How do we present solutions rather than problems?

In a socio-political environment that is growing increasingly divided every day, we have a shared responsibility to gain a more detailed and nuanced view of the problems and possible solutions so that we can positively impact society.

We live in a highly oversimplified world, where it seems like everyone has an opinion on everything, and nobody wants to think critically about anything.

Context is important because it tells us why a thing exists the way it does. It gives us a better understanding of the present circumstances and allows us to see things in a new light to make better decisions.

While radicals call for the complete dissolution of capitalism, they do nothing to solve its problems. They call for a complete dismantling, but that doesn’t get anyone any closer to a systematic answer to social issues. It doesn’t provide nuance or depth to any of its claims. It isn’t a concrete answer to anything in particular.

It’s like taking a black marker and crossing out everything on paper without writing anything new.

We need to start looking at these problems differently — with a different kind of judgment, where we can see issues from all perspectives and make decisions that benefit everyone instead of the few.

In a society where identity is seen as a central part of social justice, people fall into two categories: those who fall victim to identity politics and those who are quick to put down people who engage in identity politics.

The problem is both sides represent an oversimplified version of a complex issue. The oversimplified version of the problem doesn’t allow for nuance, and both sides become oppositional. We’re not living in a world where it’s black and white, where there are only victims and oppressors. The reality is far more complex than that.

The only real solution: Understanding the depths of problems before you try to solve them; and not trying to solve them via social media.

If social media is used to decide on policies and social norms, requiring much more depth, nuance, and context, we will become a caricature of a functional society.

People should be willing to listen and acknowledge problems even when they inevitably go against their worldview.

To get anywhere close to reasonable discourse, we must start with a complete understanding of our problems as a united society. We have to contextualize the problem and the solution. We have to understand what caused it, who it affects, and why it exists. The answer isn’t as simple as repeating copy-pasted Tweets proclaiming, “Let’s abolish private housing.”

We have to start looking at problems on a case-by-case basis rather than trying to fit them into political or sociological boxes. We can’t outsource our morality or ethics to politicians or social media trends. It’s time to think for ourselves and take action based on independent ethical judgments. It’s better to think critically and consider the facts of a problem rather than act emotionally; and ask ourselves: “What is the best way to solve this problem?” not “Who is to blame?”



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Joan Westenberg

Chaotic good. Award winning creative director & writer, ft. in Wired, Inc, SF Chronicle, TNW. Founder thisisstudioself.com