I was just browsing Instagram and found the following:
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
I see this kind thing all too frequently. It’s indicative of the lack of attention we give to the things we post and the messages we send. I’m sure that the woman who posted it saw the aphorism someplace and thought “Oh, inspiring,” then posted it without further thought.
But what is the underlying message? If you get discouraged, quit; it isn’t going to happen. If we applied that philosophy to life most of us addicts would be dead now (or wish we were) and very little would get accomplished in general.
We – all of us – need to be mindful of the messages that we send to others by our posts, the things we say, and the ways we behave, even when we’re just fooling around. I don’t mean we shouldn’t share things we find inspirational, nor have bumper stickers that reflect our real feelings, nor goof on stuff and have a little fun, but merely that we should look deeply at why these things appeal to us and consider what impressions, perhaps even impact, they might have on others.
I don’t believe the example above is going to destroy anyone’s life, but it doesn’t say a whole lot about the deep thinking of whomever originated the phrase and it’s a perfect example of the stuff we see on the Web. We’re inundated with posts that the perpetrator failed to think about or check out before laying them on people who might not bother to either. Like sheep they repost, and thus pass on the deception or misunderstanding to others. Much of the damage done by this sort of thoughtless posting and reposting is directly reflected in the dissonance of our current national discourse. Facebook isn’t responsible for our unwillingness to think critically; we are.
We human beings believe what makes us comfortable and rarely bother to check out things that seem to agree with what we think we know. Unfortunately, that makes us easy to lead around by our feelings instead of our intellects. We need to be mindful of the difference between opinions and facts.
As John F. Kennedy said so memorably,
“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”