I haven’t been socializing much lately outside of family and close friends. I don’t post on facebook much anymore because I have better uses of my time than debate and defend myself against negative and toxic people. It seems to me that the negativity on social media tends to ebb and flow, almost like the tides. And sometimes I have runs where I’m the only one I know (it seems) who even tries to stay optimistic and positive. In cases like this, a vacation from the social media circus is in order. I’ve been doing this for several days now. I still go on once or twice a day just to see if my friends, family, and chat groups are up to anything new. And in cases when everything is going negative and irritable, I limit my responses and posts to bare minimum. I try not to philosophize and ask deep questions anymore, even on friends sites. It’s kind of tough as I am a bit of a philosopher and researcher by nature. Have been my entire life. Joe Rogan put it well when he said to the effect ‘do high achievers spend their time answering critics on twitter?’ Of course not. I doubt most high achievers and celebrities spend much time on social media. I imagine most of their posts are really done by a public relations worker.
I used to live on social media. It could be fun and it could also be stressful. But like any new tech advances, there is a a learning curve to social media. I try not to post things I know will start unneeded arguments. And let’s be honest, most arguments on social media are not needed and aren’t productive. I doubt scientists trying to accomplish things like making safe AI, trying to crack nuclear fusion, trying to cure cancer, or develop treatments to slow aging, etc. are getting into twitter arguments or trolling scientists working for rival companies or universities. But I guess I don’t see as nasty and personal of insults online as I did even a couple years ago. It still happens, but I think an unwritten code of ethics and conduct is starting to develop when it comes to social media.
But I still make a point of avoiding people when they are being negative. I certainly avoid toxic people who run down other people, especially those trying to do something constructive with their lives. I guess I really don’t have the patience to put up with negative people. I don’t want to be bothered with them. Let them stay away until they stop being so negative and irritable. My mental illness makes it easier to sink into negativity than it would for most other people. That’s why I force myself to read optimistic literature and search for good news stories. I am not a natural optimist. But I do look at data and trends.
I avoid negative and toxic people but not out of spite. I avoid these people because I don’t want to be toxic and negative myself. I have had many bouts of negativity and depression over the years. I’ll probably be more prone to fall into negativity and toxic behavior for the rest of my life, barring some major breakthroughs in medical and psychological treatments. I avoid toxic and negative people for my own health and well being. It’s nothing personal.
One true complaint I have is that I get lonely more often than previously. I guess with the weather turning warm I can get out of my complex every day now but I really have no one to share it with. And most friends I know don’t seem to interact as much online anymore as in the past. Sometimes I go entire days without talking to anyone now. It’s kind of sad actually. I am told to reach out to friends and family but when I do I’m too often ignored. It’s a good thing that I’m an introvert by nature with this illness if no one has the time or energy to communicate. I guess I had to learn to be self reliant even at an early age, and I’m glad that I had to. Prepared me well for my adulthood. And even when my friends take the time to socialize, it’s mostly negativity or pettiness that won’t matter down the road. I’m told I’m lucky in that I don’t have to work a job for my living as I’m on disability pension. In the next breath I’m told I’m a freeloader, lazy, and a drain on society because I can’t work or pay taxes.
To listen to some people, the only worth people have is as workers and taxpayers. Yet, these same people complain about paying taxes and how much they hate their jobs. The worst part about working when I was still in the workforce wasn’t the job itself, it was dealing with irritable and divisive coworkers and bosses and customers who were impossible to please. It isn’t the work itself I hated, it was other people’s poor attitudes I hated. Even though I haven’t held a socially acceptable job since 2012, I still can’t stand people when the negativity flares up in them. I’ve ended friendships with people for being too negative. I’ve even told off my parents when they got too negative for my tastes.
And why shouldn’t I? People told me off all the time when I was in a poor mood and had moments of weakness, especially in childhood. Sure, there were plenty of times I earned getting in trouble for my less than stellar attitudes. But, let’s hold everyone to these standards. It seems like we hold children and sick people to higher standards than regular people. And the celebrities and elected officials we personally like, well, we hold to zero standards. Very hypocritical. I don’t even know why I bother with people some days. I never really desired to be a hermit. I made myself one because most people I know are impossible to please and just not interested in improving anything, especially themselves. That too is very hypocritical. Hold everyone to standards you won’t hold yourself too.
I just don’t talk to anyone much anymore. But then it seems like people have been avoiding me too lately. I hope this is just my paranoia creeping in. But it does seem like almost no one has time or energy to just chat lately. I fear that I’m becoming this way too. I try to stay optimistic overall but it is tough. First, I’m not an optimist by nature as I wasn’t raised to be one. I was almost never told anything positive about the world or life in general from my elders as a kid. Made me wonder why anyone had kids if the world was falling apart as much as my parents, teachers, and church elders told me it was. But that was before I got out on my own and came to the realization that most people are more ruled by short term emotion than by long term logic. As someone who is part artist and part science enthusiast, I find my emotion and logical sides at conflict quite often. I have spent the better part of the last five years training up the logical part of my mind. It isn’t easy and it’s often frustrating. Bill Gates once stated that people tend to overestimate change in the short term but underestimate it in the long term. Getting to see what cool stuff happens next is one of the things that keeps me going. It’s the scientist, the engineer, the doctor, the humanitarian that gives me as much hope as most of my friends get out of their political parties. I try to explain to my friends that politicians can pass budgets, pass favorable laws, and then get out of the way. That’s about all they can do. I have never seen a politician build a power plant or figure out how to grow more crops with fewer chemicals. Many problems of modern civilization are science and engineering issues, not political or even social ones.
I just as well be speaking ancient Sanskrit to my friends in that they’re not coming around and probably never will. I would love to live in a world where the scientists and doctors were as well known and respected as pro athletes and big shot Hollywood stars. But I suppose that’s a pipe dream that won’t come true in my lifetime, if ever. As it is I am a mentally ill unemployed man trying to make sense of the madness in the people around me. At this point I’m glad I don’t have a regular job in that it would probably drive me to complete break down. I’m glad for the safety nets I have. It saddens and sickens me that there are people who want to remove even these. We live in a post industrial civilization where we can feed everyone, not some Stone Age Darwinian survival of the fittest setup our ancestors already overcame. Yet, it seems like some people are bent on bringing back the Stone Age. I hope it’s just my paranoia creeping in but it does seem like there’s too many people losing hope and giving up right before things get real interesting. As far as any politicians of any country go, they are merely “momentary masters of a fraction of a dot” to quote Carl Sagan. We would be wise to regain such perspective in our own lives.