Monday, January 25, 2010

A New Danger From Facebook

I admit it: I shelter myself from the news. Not the really big news - I read up on politics, what's happening in congress, the war, the earthquake in Haiti. But I shelter myself from the horrifying, meant-to-be-shocking stuff that they fill the evening news with. The cruelties that people inflict on each other, on animals, on the earth. I know my own heart and reading these kinds of things just makes me feel sick inside, torn up like someone ran a rototiller through my heart. I figure I'm better off doing my best to make the world a better place in politics, the environment, etc., but not knowing about all of the people working to make it worse on a personal level.

I believe that some of us are just born with a more sensitive heart than others. Just like some people have more tastebuds and can taste the nuances of food and wine more intensely, others of us just feel more intensely. There are literally things I've read or seen that disturb me for years. There are books, like Sophie's Choice, that I wish I had never ever read. If I allow myself to think of the pivotal scene in that book I almost throw up. It's that visceral. My son cried for weeks after he saw some kids pulling the legs off of a bug at the park. He kept sobbing "the bug couldn't get away". This kind of sensitivity isn't learned, it's burned into the very makeup of our soul.

So it is that I face a quandary when it comes to Facebook. You see, people freely repost news articles there, some of which fall into the horrifying category, the things I really really don't want to ever read. I won't recap them here just in case you're like me, but lately there have been a couple of things posted (one today) that are just tearing at my heart. They will come back to haunt me multiple times through the days and weeks that follow a reading, each time bringing me to my mental knees and stabbing my spirit.

If you're reading this and you're my friend on Facebook, I would ask you to think long and hard about reposting some bit of news flotsam about extreme cruelty for all to see. To some of us, it's cruelty just to have to see that headline, and it reverberates out through the rest of our daily lives. If you feel that you absolutely can't keep from posting it to Facebook, I am asking that you not put the headline as part of the post. Don't attach the link so that it automatically shows up, but instead manually paste the link and give some sort of warning in your post that lets those of us who will be sensitive to this to not open the link.

Maybe you think I'm "overly sensitive" (I've heard that one more than a few times in my life), but like the fact that I can taste the sage, the basil, and the coriander all separately in a sauce, I can't help it.


goodwordswan said...

Thank you for this post. This is why I don't use Facebook. I too can taste the sauce. This was eloquently expressed.

Diane said...

I have never heard anyone mention this "condition" could have been talking about me. Thank you for saying it, I've always felt like I was the only one affected in that way by simply hearing stories of cruelty.

Yes, those of us with that condition have to avoid the ugly, cruel tales the same way people with sensitive stomachs have to avoid jalapenos!

Yuriy Sivers said...

Let me put it this way. Less news less stress. Everyone is going through this one way or another. Just hang on.

ChicChick said...

Wow, I can totally relate to what you said. I'm a "super sensitive" too, and hate, hate, hate how my brain will continue going over and over every horror that I read/see--even months or years later like you said. I don't watch the news but will sometimes listen to it via public radio. But you're right, it's the in-your-face, personal cruelties that I most want to avoid. Thanks for this great post.