Updated: Oct 15, 2018
The context of this statement is the powerful “Me Too” movement.
And before anyone is quick to pounce on me and call me a traitor or label me as regressive or conservative or a traditionalist, I feel it’s time to put things in perspective. Yes, the movement is giving courage to many women to come forward and share horrific tales about abuse and exploitation and this is most likely to cause a lot of change, although the desired change might take a long time.
Till that happens, will we see a new fault line in an already polarized society – White or black and brown, nationalist or globalist, conservative or liberal, right or left , religious or spiritual, elite or ordinary , patriot or traitor, gen x or millennial and now men or women.
The Me Too movement should definitely put fear in people who exploit their power or position but not paralyze institutions and work places from being normal. Rather than naming, shaming and sometimes politicizing such a sensitive issue, a safe place to register complaints, sensitive handling, timely investigation and swift punishment could propel the movement forward and gain from this momentum.
It’s also a right time, to understand that navigating the post truth world is complex and there are real dangers of people drowning in echo chambers of social media. We need tools and the mindset to not only make sense of all the information we constantly receive but a cultivated alertness into our own biases and our “beliefs.”
According to the popular attribution theory in psychology, people initially believe everything they see and hear but then rapidly assess whether it is true or not and consequently reject or continue to believe things. This assessment and decision takes time and energy, so the more tired people get or more distracted by other things, the more they are likely to believe false information.
But do we have time and patience to arrive at the truth? Does it really matter? Isn’t it enough to share, forward, like and delete while we associate with a “cause.”
I followed Dr. Christie Bailey Ford’s story about how she came forward with a complaint against the powerful US Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She has won the nomination, but for now we don’t know what Dr. Ford must be going through. It is ultimately the entrenched power system that prevails while most people are busy, distracted from one issue to the next.
In an attention economy, driven by data, truth doesn’t really count, its only likes and shares and what matters is who has the power to “place” his or her version of the truth.
In any progressive society, we all should be empowered and be entitled to our opinions but should also have the freedom to escape from the “tyranny” of the “shoulds”.
As Fowler says, the trajectory of our belief systems should move from intuitive to conjunctive and Universal. So the me too could become a we too for change.