Even when one has a reputation as a pretty even-keeled fellow, it can be surprisingly easy to get angry at Internet rhetoric. How could they believe that? How could they even write that?
In those situations it can be a struggle to find anything resembling joy. Worse, there’s a false sense of joy in scratching that itch by arguing. Shouting You’re wrong on your keyboard, even with your evidence and fact-based argument, rarely convinces your anonymous debate opponent. So You’re stupid and other ad hominem attacks become the fallback.
It’s all too easy to revel in your own sense of outrage or moral superiority. Few people acknowledge that different viewpoints exist. Even fewer recognize that confirmation biases may be affecting their own position.
It’s a work in progress, but I’m finding joy in my ability to resist the urge to punch back. I shape my own reality. I can step out of the funhouse mirror maze at any time. Drop that toxic Facebook group. Stop reading that gloom and doom news channel. Leave that forum feeding you clickbait articles. There are ways to change the world, and an online flame war is almost certainly not one of them.
Before I hit send, I now think about whether I’m adding to or subtracting from the world with my commentary. Will you remember to pause, too, before you hit reply?