FOESO: Why We Need to Reflect

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FOESO of this post right here.

In a society where everyone is encouraged to stand up for themselves and assert their opinions, many people will do just that. They will defy standards and rebel against what they think is unfair. But those who narrow-mindedly believe in such things do not acknowledge the essentiality of reflection.

There are many regrets of mine that primarily emerge from saying or doing the wrong things because what I say and do has not been thought out thoroughly. Passion is a double edged sword. Yes, we develop strong ambitions and determinations to overcome countless obstacles. Correct, when you find your passion, you never seem to tire of it.

But there’s a different form of passion that comes from getting riled up, in the heat of the moment. Moments build upon themselves and you get carried away. Before you realize it, you’ve said something completely untrue, or you’ve done something that you will not support at all the morning after.

Taking risks and saying things “before its too late” is overrated. First of all, is it ever really late? Unless it’s a strange situation where the absolutely last available train to a certain destination leaves the next morning, there’s never much of a deadline on any decision. At worst, you have a substantial portion of time before the decision must be made, so we should take our time in making that decision.

Secondly, is risk-taking a habit to promote or relegate? It might be something best to not encourage such a tendency; generally, when we state our opinions, other people are involved. The danger in blurting out whatever is floating around in your mind exists because these other people will immediately perceive you to be an unconditional supporter of your words and actions. They will hold you to what you say and do. To avoid uncomfortable confrontations and confusion and misinterpretation, it’s best to think about what you want before announcing it to others, unless they are a part of your reflection, in which case they should know that you’re just brainstorming aloud.

Reflection comes in many forms. A long car ride in the passenger seat, or the moments before you drift to sleep as you lie comfortably under the covers. It can be your savior in many situations. But it’s not just sitting idly in one position simply thinking about a situation. There’s group reflection, where you can ask other people to help you make a decision. There’s also research reflection, which is going through evidence of some sort (totally dependent on whatever you are reflecting about) to aid in coming to a conclusion.

So yes, I agree. We should fight for what we believe in. But reflection allows us to pinpoint exactly what we believe. How easily we can be swayed! A sad video of polar bears in the Arctic and people forced to flee their homes as a result of rising sea levels might convince you in ten minutes that climate change is a drastic, pressing issue that needs to be addressed immediately. But while a certain video might succeed in tugging on your heart strings, there still exists much literature about why climate change might even be a myth. In deciding whether or not something ought to be done about the impending global warming crisis, thorough research reflection would be required.

To live up to the title of educated voter, we cannot simply go with our gut feeling and immediately support that cause. We need to decide what our priorities and our opinions are first. The same applies to people who have a duty to a community.

What if Abraham Lincoln had been quickly swayed after visiting a plantation and seeing slave oppression? What if he had issued the Emancipation Proclamation that very night, only to wake up the next morning in a nation that had eagerly believed him, ready to break the established norms? What if he randomly decided that African Americans were inferior, and that the abolishment of slavery was a bad idea? Okay, bad example.

But my point is that we should solidify our opinions by mulling over it before we go announcing it to everyone. Do whatever you need to do to decide, just try to avoid making split second decisions.

Now I’ll refute the idea that technology is causing a disconnect in communication.

NO, THAT’S WRONG. The Play-doh analogy? (a reference to the previously linked FOESO) Technology has actually helped our ability to communicate. The quality of communication will only increase, and it will only yield positive outcomes. This is for 5 simple reasons:

1. Globalization – Facebook is offered in more than 60 countries, Twitter in over 15, etc and etc. Your message can reach people across the world, and can reach more than one person at a time. It used to be that word got around through word of mouth, and only spread as far as within a community.

2. Convenience – Who has the time to sit down and write an actual letter, let alone stand up and go meet someone personally? It’s easier to send texts and emails, and in the most extreme of cases, call someone using a phone. It has reduced the burden we used to have, and has made communication only easier.

3. Speed – Technology is instant. It no longer takes days to mail a letter across the country; the Pony Express has evolved into Fedex and UPS. Pen pals seem to be fading into the obscurity that is our past, but we should regard it with bitter sweetness; even as we lose a dear and long-practiced tradition, we will embrace a novel method of communication that will yield new traditions.

4. Bigger and more diverse audiences – You don’t have to indicate an interest to receive a message. We have the ability to broadcast to millions of people through the news, through Youtube accounts, and through WordPress posts. Whether it be a wanderer or a dedicated follower, the hits of any given blog will be very diverse, which means a greater quantity of communication is happening nowadays.

5. Ability to remix and build off of previous ideas – Yes, there are certain laws that prohibit certain actions that might not give credit to the creator of an idea or work. But a majority of the internet is free information. The internet is a culmination of ideas floating around, waiting for the correct mind to realize its truth, and to expound on the truth through words or music or art. Through the sharing of ideas, each person is no longer alone. We find something great and add on to it and make it even greater. As long as we have the decency to give credit to your source of inspiration, no one is ripped off; sadly, not everyone works that way. But then we’d have to ask ourselves if we prioritize the growth and development of thinking that allows for such optimistic  changes in our society.

Even if we are not able to communicate like we did in the past, that’s not a bad thing. We’re advancing at rates unprecedented, but in a positive way. I see no major consequences not being able to pass notes physically, because as the other FOESO explicitly states, that is merely a thing of a past. We’re beginning to move onto bigger and better things.

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