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Our Default Mode
The natural human approach to the social internet appears to be one characterized by anger and outrage.
We all have a knob on our hearts. Not literally, obviously, but figuratively. I imagine this knob on our hearts like a volume adjuster on an old radio or a speed adjuster for a ceiling fan. This knob on our hearts has a default setting—a setting on which it begins and to which it will revert if it is not intentionally turned to a different setting. As a Christian, I believe the default setting for the knob on our hearts is set to “sin.”
Because the default setting of our hearts is set to sin, the path of least resistance for so many of the decisions we make in our lives will be one that, though easy to walk, produces brokenness and pain. It is easier to be selfish than it is to be selfless. It is easier to seek vengeance than to forgive. It is easier to be lazy than it is to work hard. Likewise, it is easier to be outspoken online than it is to be silent online.
Because our default setting is set to sin, it appears to be totally normal and acceptable to be outraged on the social internet. It seems like everyone is doing it, so does it really hurt to join in on the rage? Because the knob on our heart is set to sin and brokenness, we have to be intentional to change the knob off of the default setting to a different one.
The natural human approach to the social internet appears to be one characterized by anger and outrage, and resisting the natural, human, or “default,” approach to the social internet requires discipline.
Our lives are proliferated by a mechanism that allows us to speak our minds whenever we want. The social internet has deposited a pocket-sized soapboxed on which to stand and speak up about whatever we like. It has never been more culturally acceptable to speak our minds and never stop pontificating on the issues of the day.
All of us are so busy shouting at each other from our pocket-sized soapboxes that we haven't the ability to listen over the din of our own voices.
How might we recognize and attempt to remedy the noxious chorus of opinions slingshotting around online? Perhaps we should be silent from time to time so that we may listen, observe, and learn.