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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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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Donald Trump's Sanctions Toward The Iranian Government Are Giving Us Painful Flashbacks To North Korea

Whether the sanction is effective is uncertain. But just like the North Korean nuclear problem, there will also be an answer soon.

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The recent news is that Iran president Hassan Rouhani is willing to talk with Donald Trump and the American government about newly established sanction towards Iran. Three months ago, Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would exit the Iran Nuclear Agreement and threatened to impose sanctions on Iran nuclear in 180 days. Recently, Trump tweeted what could be seen as a threat to the Iranian government.

Donald Trump wanted to force the Iranian government to change their economic policy. There are a lot of domestic problems in Iran. The Iranian government is busy expanding their power in the Middle East. The government used to support the Syrian government. The Saudi Arabian government and the West, which supported the Syrian Rebels, attempted to stop Iran from interfering with Syria. The Iranian government worried that the Syrian governmental crisis would affect their political stability. The overuse of the financial budget has influenced economics, causing Iranian people to appeal the government to revolutionize.

Compare the North Korean Nuclear Crisis and the Iranian Nuclear Crisis and we can see Donald Trump's similar strategies. Firstly, Donald Trump has put in a lot of pressure of either country to force them to give up the nuclear plan and improve economics instead. In the North Korean Crisis, last year, Donald Trump called Kim Jong Un "rocket man" and Kim Jong Un condemned him "crazy."

After temporary language confrontation, Kim Jong Un gave and was willing to negotiate with Trump beginning in early 2018. As for Iran, Rouhani also laughed at Trump's policy and criticized Donald Trump's sanction to Iran which was not supported by the European Union. But the latest is that Iran officials are still willing to talk to the U.S. In the trade war with China, Donald Trump also exerted the pressure on China in order to negotiate.

Many people dislike Donald Trump. It is undoubted that Donald Trump's sanction has effectively forced the country to open their economy to a larger degree of freedom. In the Kim-Trump Summit, the U.S. government reportedly played a video that assumed the future of North Korea.

In Iran currently, the inflation is so high that the public wants the economics to be promoted and anti-America sentiment is expected to end. As Donald Trump mentioned, the aim of the sanction is not to overturn the Iranian government, but to let them rethink how to focus on economics rather than on political stability.

Whether the sanction is effective is uncertain. But just like the North Korean nuclear problem, there will also be an answer soon.

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