Thursday, May 18, 2006

the gift that keeps on poisoning




I came across this short animation today (thanks gheemaker) and it was a perfect reflection of what I had been feeling in the past few days. Like I said in my first post, I’m so curious about how others think and feel and this whole blog experience has really given me access to so many people's private thoughts and views that I would never have otherwise been exposed to.
That’s been the positive aspect.
On the flipside, however, a lot of what I’ve been reading (too much!) has been overflowing with negativity.
Venting, whining, ranting, denigrating, condemning gadols, belittling institutions, insulting commentators, slandering communities, criticizing lifestyle and life choices seems to be everywhere.
I realize that many people feel stifled, and haven’t found the ability to express themselves in the real world. The Internet, and blogging in particular seems to have a special appeal to people who don’t feel comfortable expressing these ideas in person. But I wonder, who says that ALL of these thoughts and feelings need to be expressed at all, and if they do, why in such a negative way. Aren’t there more constructive ways of dealing with pent up frustration, annoyance, resentment and discontentment?
I realize that if all this negativity affects me this strongly, the solution is to avoid reading it. And I am trying. Just like I work on eliminating people from my life who have a negative influence on me, people who drag me down and pollute my mind with cynicism and pessimism, I should be just as vigilant with what I read, and for this I blame myself and no one else. But aside from the fact that I don’t think its good for me to read this, I wonder how many realize how harmful this is to themselves, as the authors and to their communities, as their audience.
The reason this short movie reminded me of what I was feeling is that I found myself getting so disgusted and disturbed by some of the things I had read that I could feel it weighing down my soul, poisoning me from the inside. Just like with poison, in order to relieve myself of the stinging, I found myself extracting it from myself by passing it on to someone else. Once I told my friend the disturbing gossip/criticism/complaints/information I had come across, I felt better, but she now undoubtedly inherited the poison. I assume she went home tonight and told her husband, in her own attempt of ridding herself of this poison. Tomorrow morning he will repeat this disgusting and disturbing information to his co-worker, who will then go home and repeat it to his wife.
The negativity just keeps spreading.
As it spreads, we carry this weight that drags us down. We get anxious. We get frustrated. We feel alone, abandoned. We lash out. We create anxiety in others. They lash out.. and soon enough we are living in the miserable, hateful, selfish, aggressive society we had been venting and ranting about to begin with.
People always say its cathartic to voice our frustrations, there’s no harm in venting, it’s good to speak your mind. But I question how true that is. I am NOT suggesting sweeping issues under the rug or ignoring them or avoiding dealing with them. I’m not advocating holding things in and letting them contaminate us from the inside, but aren’t there more constructive, more healthy ways of dealing with situations we find unpleasant or even wrong? Why not speak to the appropriate people, why not take active steps in starting changes in our communities, why not look for the source of these problems and find ways to address them in a productive, growth oriented way, why not try and look at the problems from a different perspective. At the very least why not work on our own behaviour and watch how our positive deeds and conduct affect those around us.

This short film, Cri addresses the issues of verbal aggression and violence in and caused by the urban environment we live in. When I saw it, it reminded me of something slightly different. It reminded me of the way we keep criticizing and badmouthing our communities, leaders and lifestyles, the way we end up internalizing other people’s negativity and how we end up spewing it back into our communities, thereby creating the poisoned society we were aiming to escape.

22 Comments:

At Thursday, May 18, 2006 8:47:00 AM, Blogger turquoiseblue said...

These sentiments (that I too share) are precisely the reason why my latest post is about - (drumroll please...) "Dimples"... and not about "a certain gnawing issue" in our community...

oh I'll probably get to it one day - but today wasn't it! :-)

 
At Thursday, May 18, 2006 12:07:00 PM, Blogger browneyedgirl said...

that is the strangest video clip ever. Puts a new take on "mindless ranting"....

 
At Thursday, May 18, 2006 1:26:00 PM, Blogger s.J. said...

i'm not sure what's more disturbing;
the message being portrayed, or a city full of angry nudists.

(just kidding, of course. thanks for posting)

 
At Thursday, May 18, 2006 2:25:00 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Very wierd clip, of course we should speak of appropriate people. The more we speak correctly the more others may follow.

 
At Thursday, May 18, 2006 5:34:00 PM, Blogger Lvnsm27 said...

Before I started my blog, I noticed this in what I read on others. That's why my blog is called a bit of light.

And I totally agree that instead of just complaining, people should try to find solutions. I even wrote a poem somewhere about people getting together and coming up with ideas on how to solve different issues.

 
At Thursday, May 18, 2006 5:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well done lass, well done

 
At Thursday, May 18, 2006 8:11:00 PM, Blogger A Frum Idealist said...

around the time that I started getting into posting, there was a "tag" going around called "Simple Pleasures". Bloggers were asked to choose five simple pleasures in life. I believe the main purpose was to spread positive feelings. Go to some blogs that were around In December and check their mid-December archives. Most of them brought smiles to peoples lips just to read them. Let's focus on the positive

 
At Thursday, May 18, 2006 10:32:00 PM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

That clip was extremely creepy...

The post however was brilliant..Top me blogging is a happy place..a place to escape the negativities of the real world..

 
At Friday, May 19, 2006 1:23:00 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

ya, the film is creepy and disturbing, but so is the situation. I think despite the strangeness of it, it really leaves an impact on the viewer. Next time one of us badmouths or verbally aggresses someone, we’ll see an image of those creepy people in our minds. Do we really want to walk around like those bitter, screaming, aggressive creatures?

sj, as usual, i love your comments :)

a frum idealist, thanks, ill look up those simple pleasures.


everyone else, thanks for your comments!

p.s. am i breaking a fundamental blog taboo by not responding to each comment individually?

 
At Friday, May 19, 2006 4:01:00 AM, Blogger s.J. said...

[even though he was graced with being singled out]
it can be a pain in the butt, but it's probably in your benefit to respond to everyone; if you're going to respond to anyone.

sorta like sending thank you cards to select gift senders.



lrede

 
At Friday, May 19, 2006 11:01:00 AM, Blogger A Frum Idealist said...

no, not at all.
the main advantage of responding to everyone individually is that it increases the amount of your comments. :-)

 
At Friday, May 19, 2006 2:20:00 PM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

This clip is pulsating with negative energy! I can see how you apply it to the poison you feel is being spread throughout. I agree that there is so much negativity out there. As you say, most people just dont know how to express themselves, real world or blogworld.

I think a good solution would be for all bloggers who read this to take something away from it and apply to themselves. That it is our responsibility when choosing to highlight a fault of some sort to do so in a way where the reader can feel inspired to help or do something about it, not just perpetuate the negativity by venting on how they agree.

It would benefit all involved. Is this a capability in blogworld? What do you think Anonymookie? I thought this was an amazing post!

 
At Saturday, May 20, 2006 6:42:00 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

What a disturbing video!
You're right it's so easy to get poisoned from the negativity around us!
In terms of blogging, I don't visit anyones site if they are hateful.

I try to surround myself with lovely bloggers- like yourself!

 
At Sunday, May 21, 2006 11:29:00 AM, Blogger Eshet Chayil said...

chilling...

 
At Sunday, May 21, 2006 11:32:00 AM, Blogger Eshet Chayil said...

oh and ps...I never answer comments one individually. Quality vs quantity is always better in my book.

 
At Sunday, May 21, 2006 8:42:00 PM, Blogger Lakewood Venter said...

Very powerful and disturbing all at once! While I agree with much of what you say, and that negativity in it of itself is not good, and we should always strive to accentuate the positive. YET I think it is important to get off our chests things that are irking us. In many ways, I feel that by getting the negative feelings off our chests in the virtual blog world, it enables us to continue being positive where it counts: Our home and work lives!

Keep up the good work. I love your blog!

 
At Monday, May 22, 2006 1:29:00 PM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

s.j., I hear what you’re saying, but im not really one to do something that is a pain in the butt unless I see real value in it. I guess it comes across as rude to answer to some and not to others, but im not such a big fan of etiquette for etiquette’s sake.. oh well.. ill try my best ..

a Frum Idealist, im glad some don’t mind not getting comments! and the truth is its nice to get comments, but only because I like the feedback, thank g-d im out of high school for a while now – no more popularity contest!

Frumgirl, thanks for your comments, I agree. I hope that others who read this can take something away to apply in their lives. I wouldn’t have mentioned it if I didn’t think it was a capability, I just think people need to realize that just because they are posting anonymously and that they cant see their reader’s faces, doesn’t give them the right to speak in a way that is inappropriate. If you wouldn’t do or say something in your real life, when you are face to face with others, there’s no reason to do it when you’re hiding behind a screen. No one wants to be responsible for dragging others down and for filling their minds with negativity, so there’s no special permission to do that in a blog.

Kasamba, im really working on not visiting hateful sites also. The reason I wrote this is because I find it difficult, just like with lashon hara, something in us is pulls us towards it. I think we crave negativity because in the end it gives our animalistic side an excuse to distance ourselves from G-d.

Eshet Chayil, yup, it definitely is, unfortunately that’s the world we live in.
Regarding the comments, I agree with you!

Lakewood Venter, im glad you enjoy my blog . I want to explain something, im definitely not suggesting that people should only focus on pretty happy positive things, that’s not at all what im saying. What I am saying is that even when we are unhappy about something, even when we are fed up, disgusted, disappointed.. we should still deal with it in a way that is positive and inspiring. I don’t mean – look for the good in the situation – I mean, find a way to express it that motivates people to make a change. You can criticize a system, a community, a situation, but people should feel “wow this is so wrong, im going to go out and make a difference” as opposed to “ugh, im so disgusted and fed up, this place sucks, its hopeless”.
I understand that blogging affords people a place to speak their minds and get off their chest what they cant in real life, but that still doesn’t give anyone the permission to drag others down. Why not use this medium to bring people up and help each other and build up the community. If every frum blogger was growing from their blogging experience, the positive impact would pour out into the community.

 
At Monday, May 22, 2006 1:49:00 PM, Blogger Lakewood Venter said...

ANONY- point taken. Stay tuned to my next post, hopefully you will see that I see plenty positive in Lakewood too!

Keep up your great blogging!

 
At Monday, May 22, 2006 3:07:00 PM, Blogger Limey2001 said...

wow this is so wrong, im going to go out and make a difference
I AM, I REALLY AM!!!

yayyy, pat on back XX

 
At Monday, May 22, 2006 3:42:00 PM, Blogger Lakewood Venter said...

I just clicked on the link you have to "post a secret" That is very disturbing site! wow.

 
At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 12:35:00 AM, Blogger ThePointInBlogging? said...

Gee, this blog looks somewhat interesting, but it's just too long for me to sit in front of my computer and read!!!

 
At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 12:47:00 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

LV, postasecret is an awesome site, its amazing to see what kind of things poeple have going on in their lives. in a (not so nice, twisted, selfish) way its reassuring to be reminded that everyone has skeletons in their closet..

limey2001, good for you :)

thepointinblogging? i hear you, thats why i stick pictures in with the posts, dont break youre pretty head reading through it, just look at the pretty pictures!

 

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