In the past year, besides all the wonderful things that technology has made possible, largely due to the Internet, what struck me the most was something less than positive. It was the hostility and aggressiveness that are widespread in the digital sphere, reaching the farthest corners of the Internet. We know what these malicious comments and attacks can do, especially to the fainthearted or to the impressionable. Having confronted this myself, no matter how hard I try to steer away from online conflicts, I plan to keep in mind one word for 2015: tolerance.
The power or capacity of an organism to tolerate unfavourable environmental conditions
Tolerance means having the ability to adapt to the online world. In my opinion, this is not something that should lead to the abolishment of our belief systems, but an experience that should rather teach us how to formulate arguments in ways that don’t hurt others and maintain a respectful and constructive tone.
A disposition to allow freedom of choice and behaviour
We are undeniably led into action by our convictions and beliefs system, which help us filter the information we’re overwhelmed with and make sense of it. And it’s easy to get wrapped up in these beliefs to the point of deeming other people’s opinion as inferior or of no value. That is why I believe it’s essential that we practice this disposition of allowing others to act and believe as they see appropriate, even if it may hurt us. It will help cultivate patience and educate us towards not taking things too personally.
Willingness to recognize and respect the beliefs or practices of others
Tolerance also means allowing ourselves to see our center of gravity moved by others. I try to take it as a learning experience. I try to research other people’s opinion. I do my best to understand what they’re trying to say, when they’re actually making an effort to be (somewhat) constructive. It’s not always easy, and sometimes I find myself guilty of being shallow, but it only makes me want to try even harder.
A permissible difference; allowing some freedom to move within limits
But tolerance should also be directed towards ourselves. We should let ourselves move withing the limits we’ve set or even go beyond them. We should admit that we sometimes react emotionally, irascibly, without giving too much thought to the words we type so easily. To err is human, they said. But to learn from one’s mistakes is what brings us back to that state of balance.
So my resolution for 2015 is just to be more tolerant, in hopes that maybe I can contribute to making the Internet a more peaceful, constructive place, reaffirming its core values.