Adam Gurri on telescopic morality

From Front Porch Republic:

There is one version of the history of modern media that is a story primarily about a drug, developed to make its users feel anger with delightful intensity. Refinement of this drug has made some great leaps in a very short time — it used to be you had to wait until a certain time of day to get it. Then you had to deal with having it mixed in with a lot of filler material. Now you can go straight to the social media site of your choice, where you and your fellow junkies can trade images of victims overlayed with condemning quotes, or infographics which expose injustice in striking bar and pie charts. And now the shared experience of other people’s outrage has become part of the concoction, and it is immeasurably more potent as a result.

Like actual chemically-induced pleasures, in excess this anger is a sickness. It consumes your waking thoughts, and takes your vitality with you when it leaves. When the dose is administered, an extreme form of tunnel vision sets in. You get sucked into a monomaniacal focus on the object of some injustice, far away from you or anyone you know, and are temporarily unable to see anything that is actually a part of your life. You lose sight of vulgar morality, the stuff that really matters, and succumb to the siren song of telescopic morality. You rage at things you cannot control at the expense of time you could be investing improving the state of affairs around you, for your family, your community. The long term effect of mainlining telescopic morality is utter hollowness; ethical triviality.

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