My observation is that we live in a society that encourages ignorance and abuse. We see it on television and in tabloids, it’s okay to use words to hurt people. It’s okay to inflict one’s will or values on another, this is entertainment. It’s okay when it happens to someone else. The mentality is that it’s okay if I do it to you, you know, if I think it’s funny, or, as judge and jury, I think that you deserve it. Consider cyber-bullying and gossip and how hurtful those words can be, what negative consequences they can have. And for what, what purpose does it serve? For the magazine industry it sells, and for those reality tv series, it gets ratings. On a grander scale, the entertainment industry sends the message that this is normal behaviour, it gives the impression that rudeness, distortion of facts or fabricating facts is okay. What a sad indicator of where we are as a society. How far we have fallen in our humanity.
In the real world there’s a reason why there is a criminal charge when you threaten someone, just like it is criminal when you hit or push someone. Uttering threats is against the law. Assault is against the law. Slander, libel, they are all pursuable. It may be that one is angry or frustrated, but that doesn’t give him or her the right to cross that line. There are extenuating circumstances always, perhaps mental health issues – when an individual doesn’t have the same filters as you or I – but even then, it’s not okay, it doesn’t make it right. It’s not entertainment anymore, it’s real life and real people, and potentially a real problem.
I think about cases of domestic abuse, how many times the victim rationalizes that it is a one-off, that the perpetrator won’t do it again. The pattern often persists, though, and they do it over and over again. In your dealings with other people on a day-to-day basis where do you draw the line about what type of behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t? It depends on what matters to you. It depends on your own sense of self-worth and self-respect.
For me, I have very distinct thresholds, I am also very clear when one has been crossed. Once has always been enough. Cross that line just once and you are done in my world. It may not matter to that person anyway, but it matters to me. The people I surround myself with are a reflection of who I am, and what I value. So for those who cross my ‘values’ line, no inner circle anymore. If future interaction is necessary, a brief and distant courtesy is it, whatever it takes to achieve the necessary objective. There are too many good people out there to suffer one who isn’t.