When we are reading, we pay attention to the bold words. I’m sure you just did it.
Why do we do this?
As children, we were taught to spot differences.
Differences demonstrate distinction.
When reading textbooks, the bold words became the most important words. They were the words to know for the upcoming exam. The bold words were set apart from the normal text. They were sturdy. They were the culmination of the definition. All of the normal print words, essentially fit into this singular entity.
As I watch people post online and throughout social media, I see a common theme. I see people expressing their opinions on hundreds of topics. I see people putting themselves out there and pressing forth for issues. I see people striving to be BOLD.
However, in these Facebook posts, Instagram messages, and tweets I do not see boldness.
I see rash judgment.
I see conformity.
I see hatred.
“But Nick is that not a little harsh?”
“Nick, many of these are nobles causes.”
“Nick, not everyone acts in that way!”
I am not attacking the entire internet.
I am not attacking the people posting.
Nor, am I attacking the messages.
However, I am expressing the way in which our society deals with the desire to be bold.
Bold (defined as) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.
To be bold means to take a leap. To take a stand on a matter. To be bold means to hold solid ground. The first problem I see is rash judgment. I see people posting things, sharing things, retweeting things that took them no more than 21 seconds to read. I genuinely believe these people assume they are being bold. I genuinely believe that these people posting such things want to better the world. However, I do think as a society we have a problem. We have confused boldness with volume. Both the physical volume of information as well as the volume in which it is heard. We have equated people’s CAPITAL LETTERS to unwavering morality. As a society, we are losing the ability to reflect and contemplate. We have lost the meaning of taking time to think about the issues we present. We have lost the ability to absorb without the dopamine rush to regurgitate. In order to fix this problem we have to take a moment and let the wisdom brew. We must talk to both sides of the argument. We must talk FACE to FACE with people expressing different opinions: not just behind computer screens. Then we can proceed with the knowledge and understanding to be bold.
Though rash judgment is a major problem, it stems from the desire to conform and be accepted. I for one, have definitely fallen victim to this issue. As social beings, it is our desire to be liked and appreciated. As much as we want to be different, we find comfort in similarity. However, to conform is to not be bold. In conforming there is no risk undertaken. Hence, though it may appear on the surface (through use of strong language) that one is being a risk taker; it is quite the contrary. Many times online posts are a piercing cry for acceptance. This idea can also be viewed in another light. It also relates to those individuals that are drawn to the “anti” side. The arguments that do not contribute to the majority. In this cry, there is rarely an understanding of the presenting issue. Rather, there is a burning desire to be heard and seen. This is a hope to make noise so loud that others MUST take notice. This too is not boldness, but rather a product of not being loved or appreciated enough by a community. Before we present an issue through social media, we must be sure our words are not just mimicry.
I see people shouting out to the world about the importance of x issue just to spark fires. These are not little camp fires to warm the cold toes of friends and family, these are fires to burn and destroy. All over the internet, I watch as people stir the pot. They stir it not to make great soup, but to feel like they are contributing to the meal. These individuals did not make the soup. They do not understand the substance of the soup. Rather, they are like the little kid that wants to stir the cake mix in order to act as though they are contributing. This to them may feel like boldness, but in reality it is pride. In order to be bold, we must ask ourselves if what we post is contributing to the advancement of truth. Is the material we are posting going to possibly lead to the expansion of knowledge and wisdom of mankind. Stirring the pot is useless, but adding to the substance of the soup is where the real boldness of flavor rests.
Friends, I want to encourage you to be the bold word. In order to do this we must acquire a deep knowledge of the material we present and reflect on it. We must ask ourselves whether or not we are arguing for the truth or just acceptance. We need to assess whether or not our words give the soup flavor or are so filled with bitterness that the entire meal is destroyed.
Let us be courageous and take risk in expressing our beliefs. Belief is the bold word, live in such a way that you become the definition.