Social Enlightenment

Social Enlightenment

Using Social Media In A Positive Manner That Progresses The Individual and Improves Human Relationships.
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Social media has revolutionized human communication in a way that essentially has abolished the concept of distance in relationship to the millennia old problem of slow, long range communication. This abolition of distance has proven to allow face to face communication (livestream, Skype, video chats, etc), audio/verbal communication, and most importantly, written communication in real-time.

If we consider the origins of language, especially writing, has an incredibly complex history; including being eliminated from society through several manners whether environmental factors, sheer misfortune, or the conscious destruction of writing. We have seen numerous peoples eliminated by natural disasters or extermination, with their verbal and written languages dying too. We have seen the degradation of language during periods of dark ages like that of the European Dark Age in the Medieval Period that saw centuries of writing and knowledge lost to the chaos of that era. And finally we have seen extreme examples where written language actually almost totally eliminated from human civilization; such as what occurred during the Bronze Age collapse of 1200 BCE.

If one considers the evolution of language since its inception, the biggest challenge faced by the human species is the adequate and proper transference of thought whether through written symbols or verbal grunts and noises. The sensitivity of this transference of thought is noted as misinterpretation and miscommunication in all forms. The constant and daily miscommunication of ideas between humans create a noticeable level of drama, hostility, and other seemingly unnecessary emotional reactions. These disputes can range from the common people to the most powerful elites of society. It must therefore be recognized that as the abolition of distance and the increasing interconnectivity of the human species progresses to encompass more of the species; acknowledging the problematic nature of language must be overcome though conscious attempts at clarity and clear intention of ideas. The continuation of unconscious arrogance or ignorance creates tensions in human society that in the technologically advancing civilizations of the 21st-century has become almost completely counterproductive.

So what are some ways we can avoid miscommunication and misinterpretation?

Three helpful points can be conceived as manners of achieving this goal:

  1. Don’t assume- One of the biggest problems that has created a vast amount of inaccuracy and miscommunication is the notion of assuming the thoughts of another without validation. Just because one may believe they think they understand the context or intention of an idea; verification is the wisest choice of action in any scenario rather than simply assuming communication was adequately conveyed.
  2. Talk to the individual one is engaging in the conversation; don’t talk through them- One of the biggest challenges that can be seen in observation of people communicating through social media, especially in written format, is that people communicate using the written word as if they are face-to-face having a verbal communication. The result of this is a cyclical pattern of one individual “commenting” in a manner that may as well be shouting into the void; only to be responded to by someone applying the same shouting technique, rather than direct concise communication.
  3. Always re-read messages, comments, posts, etc. at least twice before sending/posting- It is extremely noticeable that many dramatic and argumentative situations on social media derive from the impulsive emotional reactions between the individuals involved. The impulsive, rapid response of an individual caught in the passion of debate or discussion can be seen full of grammatical errors, spelling errors, and full on incoherency if not adequately compiled in a multitude of comments/messages/posts by the individual to compensate for the impassioned responses. It is therefore encouraged for an individual to take a solid minute to reread, proofread, double check, and fully assess whether or not the message/comment/post is intended to communicate the desired thoughts. The utilization of time to reflect can also allow for one to fully gather the thoughts intended on being communicated. With this, one can send a single concise detailed message rather than a multitude of half worded rapidly typed responses.

While the abolition of distance for communication has revolutionized human society, human thinking, and the potential for civilization as a whole; there is still the lacking of the individual to recognize the implication of these major breakthroughs in the way that they use the technology and how one’s mind shapes and molds the technology, as well as getting shaped and molded in return. Design of language to convey thought has been its purpose since the beginning of language itself. If we truly wish to honor this heritage as a society, civilization, and as individuals; then we each must take the responsibility and the accountability of using language in the most responsible adequate manner to avoid miscommunication, to prevent misinterpretation, and to honestly and responsibly convey thoughts and ideas that can be a benefit to all.

Cover Image Credit: NXP Blog - NXP Semiconductors

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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The 'New America' Needs To Look Back On Its Establishing Morals

This is a country that aspired to thrive upon the roots of life, liberty, and equality.

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The United States of America was founded on the idea and need to have a country that granted it's people equality and freedom. This idea of America was a thought that gave many people a sense of hope.

Following the Revolutionary War, The United States of America was established: a country that aspired to thrive upon the roots of life, liberty and equality.

Through numerous tough and long years, the citizens of America slowly started to see the equality for each and every citizen they had always envisioned. African Americans were freed from slavery with the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment. But, when the Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868, a new era was beginning. This Amendment to the Constitution was the first time gender was added to the Constitution. This amendment declared that "The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

With this amendment, women became inspired to fight for equality in this country just as every male citizen now had. When the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920, women were granted suffrage. This milestone pleased the women of this country because they thought they were now equal to their male counterparts.

Well, today, in 2018, women still do not have the same equality as males in this country.

In this "New America" that is "flourishing" today, women earn 80.5 cents on average to every dollar a man makes.

A country that was founded on the value of instilling liberty and equality into the government and country has somewhere lost its morals and values.

In this "New America" a man accused of sexually assaulting a woman can be sworn into the highest court in America. A court people are supposed to see as an establishment of fairness and equality; a court that will protect its citizens.

How are the citizens of The United States of America supposed to feel protected by its government when that government has failed to see women as equals? How are these citizens suppose to be proud to call The United States home when a man who caused a woman so much mental trauma can be represented in our government?

The Old America was a country that worked tirelessly to grant all it's citizens equality in hopes to make this country one that was based on liberty for all. As the years have passed, our government and this country's citizens have lost sight of this.

This "New America" is failing to protect all its citizens and quite frankly I am terrified to see the continuation and evolution of this corruption in our country.

In order for American citizens to feel proud to be a citizen of this country once again, the citizens need to be able to trust their government; they need to feel that the people that represent this country will work as hard as possible to protect all their rights.

For this to happen, this "New America" needs to take a look back in time and remember what this country was established for.

Once women are seen as equals to men in this country, a woman will not receive such harsh backlashed when bravely sharing a traumatic event in order to protect herself as well as the citizens in her country.

Once women are seen as equals to men in this country, a man would not state he is more worried about his sons than his daughters following sexual assault accusations brought to light.

Men should not fear that their sons will be accessed of sexual assault just as women should not fear being sexually assaulted.

America needs to take a good look in the mirror and reevaluate its morals.

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