Slow internet, a hacked site and offline concerns – those have been my issues this past week. They have kept me mostly unplugged from Facebook. Where before I would have the urge to check my phone regularly when it beeps to the latest Facebook notification, I have been blissfully uninterrupted in the office as my phone can barely connect to the internet there. This has been a blessing as I could focus on more pressing concerns at work.
When I arrive home, the notifications come in a swift barrage and I mostly just scroll through them and clear them all without clicking on them because I’m too tired to have any sort of serious discussion. I just look at some funny links to de-stress and that’s about it.
I also found out that my website had been hacked and Google had flagged it for containing malware. So the past few days were spent on the Linux command line trying to remember all the stuff I learned in college when Linux was still at its infancy. I had to weed out the malware, identify it, remove it, then figure out how it got in, and plug that leak.
Google seems to have been satisfied with my efforts and has now cleared my site from their malware list.
There was a time when I was crazily in Facebook for hours on end. I would be endlessly debating with one person or another, scrolling here and there, clicking on links, reading them and posting my comments, arguments, agreements or disagreements.
Now, I laugh when I remember those times, and I remember that life is certainly not just on Facebook, especially this past week when I found that I am comfortable being hardly active on it.
It’s funny when some people I hardly know judge me by what goes on in my account or my wall. My thoughts on religion, spirituality, politics and so on can hardly be encapsulated in a few status updates or even a few blog posts. They are also ever-changing and evolving as I consider other points of view.
Last night, I read Clinton Palanca’s piece 100 Days of Dutertopia. A paragraph that struck me there was when he talked about having laughed and dined with people he thought were his friends, and then later finding out that they supported the current administration. He felt betrayed, he said.
And I thought, for what? Because you made some wrong assumptions about them? Because you think that a prerequisite of friendship is that they should think the same way as you in all matters and have the same values you hold? Those people did not betray you (unless they were willfully deceiving you for some ulterior motive). It was only your assumptions that did.
It is the easiest thing in the world to stereotype people and put them in these little boxes so you can decide whether to love them or hate them – yellowtard, dutertard, those pretentious, exploitative Americans, those arrogant, self-serving Chinese communists, drug addict, criminal, and so on. Stereotypes and generalizations have their uses, but to use these to label a person and not to see them beyond the label is simply shortsighted.
No one person can be reduced to a label. Talk to a fanatic and you’ll find he’s not so bad after all. Talk to an intellectual and you’ll discover that she is not above being ruled by her feelings. The more you try to know someone, the more you discover that there is always more to know.
I just had a nice chat with a friend who has a different political stand than me, but we respect each other and can have decent conversations that do not degenerate into insults and name-calling (except in jest). I think that beyond sharing the same thoughts and values, the true test of friendship is acceptance of who the other person is and treating that person as respectable despite glaring differences in your beliefs and opinion.
And for those who can’t take that, there is always the option of the unfriend button.
Originally published in Sunstar Davao.