Sunday, October 18, 2015

Viral goodness

Despite all the yuckiness on the Internet, there’s also a lot of really good stuff, too. Some of it even becomes rather popular, which is nice, even more so when they make a good point.

Yesterday, a friend of mine posted the video up top, and today George Takei shared it on Facebook, which makes it pretty viral. I like the drug commercial parody, but it’s also based on real-live science: People really do experience better physical and metal health if they get out into nature.

But another reason I liked it so much was because of the implicit message that people should, at least sometimes, step away from technology.

Shortly after seeing the video on YouTube, I visited the page of a Facebook Group I’m part of and someone had posted comment after comment after comment with links pointing to all sorts of truly bizarre extreme rightwing—and thoroughly unhinged—conspiracy theories. So, I responded in the best passive-aggressive sub-Tweet method I could: “I'm reminded that there are people who need to go outside more, far from an Internet-connected device of any kind. There's a prescription available that may help…” and I shared a link to the video above. I didn’t mention names, but the weirdness did immediately stop, so maybe the advice was heeded? I’d like to think so.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what to do when confronted with people saying things you strongly disagree with—or that just sound nuts. My response above was certainly not ideal, but at least it was something, which is more than I can say about two different incidents on Monday, when I was chatting normally with a couple different people at different times—until they started saying racist things. I honestly had no idea what to do or say—I’m never prepared when that sort of thing happens.

But, what if there IS time to prepare? Among other things, it gives people time to come up with creative and positive responses to racism and the negativity that goes with it.

Even if they're real neo-fascists, like in the video below.

Last year, the Bavarian town of Wunsiedel was faced with a march by neo-Nazis. So, they turned it into a fundraiser for EXIT-Germany, a group that helps neo-Nazis become EX-neo-Nazis. I think it was an absolutely brilliant idea, and a great way to counter hatred and extremism, turning it all into something good and positive—all while also preserving freedom of thought and expression. And, who knows? It may have encouraged some of the marchers to get help to leave their extremism behind.

Sometimes, there’s some really good stuff on the Internet. These two videos are even better because they make good points. Bonus.


AmeriNZ's Sis said...

I remember all the times we spent camping and all the fun we had. It certainly sharpens the senses and melts the stress away. That's assuming that one doesn't meet up with a bear, experience really bad weather or anything else one wouldn't want to encounter.
Stepping away from technology is pretty easy for me to do because I want to - no emails to read and answer, no TV, no phones, no radio. Of these devices, I'll ease back into TV, radio, phone, and then the computer in this order. The reason for the quiet time is that I can enjoy the silence or a face to face conversation; connecting with self and with others directly. With all that is going on in the world, good and bad, I like controlling my little piece of it even if it is for a short time. And I call it, 'time for recharging my batteries'.
I think that quieting the mind, body, and spirit is very important. I believe we can get wrapped up in stress and sometimes not even realize it. There are many illnesses that have a stress related component. I don't want to help it. Have you ever noticed that the volume on the radio for example, where you had left it from the night before, is too loud in the morning? I guess the peace and quiet one experiences while sleeping allows the body to recalibrate to get back to more "normal" levels.
So bravo for that clever video. Well done.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

For the most part, I agree with you, and it touches on a post I've been thinking about for ages, but I've never done it because it comes from being annoyed at all the Twee memes on the Internet about people being "too absorbed" in their technology. Although, I DO think the irony of people saying such things on the Internet is funny.

I'm almost never disconnected, except when I'm asleep (and even then the landline phone and my cellphone are nearby). This is by choice, and by habit. I don't mind it in the least.

Still, there are some changes I've made. I have software on my computer that filters out blue light (gradually reducing it) beginning a certain time after sunset and lasting until a certain time after sunrise (both times adjustable). Blue light is thought to interrupt/disturb sleep patterns, which has health consequences, of course. For the same reason, I no longer read in bed at night using my iPad (there's no filtering software available for that). Instead, I read using my Kindle or—GASP!—ink on paper things.

My stresses come from other humans, and the activities i get myself into, not my technology as such (there will be a blog post on that topic!). And, stress is my main trigger for gout attacks, so I'm looking to see what I can change about interactions with humans, most of which have nothing to so with technology.