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“Until we take how we see ourselves (and how we see others) into account, we will be unable to understand how others see and feel about themselves and their world. Unaware, we will project our intentions onto their behaviour and call ourselves ‘objective’. Stephen R Covey

Facebook is getting out of control. I think it started as a wonderful means of reuniting people, and I have been fortunate enough to benefit from that when I met up with some old friends from my ‘war years’ who, like me, had elected to see our past through rose tinted glasses. Without Facebook that may never had happened, nor would I have travelled abroad for it to happen.

But we have now ‘allowed’ Facebook to be not just a medium through which we can have a rant about things that annoy us like poor standards and over-commercialisation on television (my favourite) and the low societal standards by which we find ourselves surrounded. It has become a way to get involved in politics.

Not in a good way. What this particular issue shows us is that we are not all ‘balanced and objective’ about political issues. It identifies just how ideologically blinded we tend to allow ourselves to become.

I respect everyone’s right to hold a political viewpoint. I have one, after all. But when you read posts saying that XXXX MP is a (*&^%) because he is a member of, or not a member of a particular party, then you have to ask whether the opinion is ideological – because pound to a pinch of (you know) the poster has never met XXXX MP, is not a member of their cabinet/shadow cabinet, has not been party to the discussions about which s/he made that post, and is therefore spouting malicious bile. And I use as my evidence the fact that they use abusive language rather than considered commentary. When they do that, they tell everyone that (a) they are a member of a particular ‘side’ and (b) they are blind to alternative thinking.

You can disagree with someone agreeably. You can (and the ideological just can’t get their heads around this) agree with SOME things and disagree with others. Shock! Horror! Yes, folks – you have the ability to think, and to recognise that someone can be right some of the time and wrong some of the time, without being a *&^%.

Just like YOU, in fact.

I recall some abuse being circulated by socialist thinkers about Iain Duncan-Smith, relating to welfare cuts. Some choice words were used. But when he resigned in protest about his party going too far? Not one word. I wasn’t expecting praise, but the balanced and objective would have said something positive. But the ideological? ‘Pretend it never happened’, or, ‘Political self-interest, I expect.’ Probably based on their intimate relationship with him, I suppose.

And another thing. Sharing posts can be a valuable way of (and I hate this expression) ‘raising awareness’. My only request is that when you do so, you actually know for a FACT that what you are sharing is TRUE. Otherwise you are perpetuating propaganda, something circulated by an interested party whose post may be a load of old tripe. And they’ll thank you for doing so.

Facebook – a great tool unless you use it blindly. Open your eyes. Not just to the possibilities that other people are wrong. But to the possibility that you might be wrong, too.

And when you ARE wrong, at least have the manners to apologise.

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