Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Anger and the Internet

The more the Internet exposes people to new points of view, the angrier people get that different views exist.

-- Benedict Evans


G. Verloren said...

I contend that it ABSOLUTELY depends on the person.

Most of the views I'm personally truly angry about I've long ago already been exposed to, which means when I come across a genuinely new view, it's most often a positive experience, or at the very least a neutral one.

I'd also argue that it very strongly depends on the context of the issue, and on the breadth of different viewpoints within any given context.

If we're talking about politics and philosophy, that's some pretty well trodden ground with not a lot of room for really new viewpoints. I don't tend to find new political points of view, because there really are only so many that differ in meaningful ways from one another.

But if we're talking things like art, music, language, culture, et cetera, there is such an overwhelming abundance of "new things" for me to stumble upon that I almost find it dizzying. And since I'm the sort of person who generally enjoys learning about new things, I'm virtually guaranteed to enjoy myself unless something truly offends me on a deep level.

And the thing is, that sort of offense is rare for me. If I encounter something I deeply don't like, it's not remotely a big deal, because it's "just" a piece of music, or literature, or whatever, and it's easy to tolerate simple differences in taste. If someone wants to enjoy something I can't stand, that doesn't hurt anyone - unlike if someone wants to vote for a heinous policy that truly impacts the lives of millions in horrific ways.

The internet doesn't make people angrier about the fact that different views exist. Those sorts of people get angry about different views no matter what

All that the internet does is expose those kinds of people to a greater number of different views than more traditional mediums. It doesn't cause the anger. It just precipitates it. It produces more visible symptoms than other media, but the underlying illness was always present, just less well revealed.

Unknown said...

What Verloren said. My experience of myself and other people is that the views that tend to make people angry are usually quite familiar. An emotive enmity derives from knowledge, not novelty.