True, Kind and Necessary
How often have we seen a Facebook meme that instructs us before we speak to make sure that what we have to say is true, kind and necessary?
This “filter” as it is sometimes called, has been attributed to Buddha, the Sufis and guru Sai Baba.
The Rotarians have a similar expression. Many gentle religions, including the Quakers and the Unitarians, have embraced this philosophy.
Facebook memes are easy to spread around. Just hit “Share.” Many memes promote kindness and positivity. Some memes are cute and funny. I am a huge fan of Grumpy Cat.
But many memes don’t pass the filter test. A huge number of memes that publicize scary “true” stories and statistics are simply not true, never mind being kind and necessary.
I’ll bet that if any one of us vetted the memes on our Facebook wall on any given day we would find many of them to be untrue. Except the ones about cute cats, of course. The cats truly are cute.
Facebook is a platform for people to share their concerns. Many people like to use Facebook to promote a particular agenda. That’s all well and good. But how is it helpful to spread falsehoods, even if those falsehoods prop up your fears and beliefs?
I never unfriend based on politics. I expect that some people will feel differently than I do about certain issues, and that’s fine. I respect and appreciate everyone’s right to an opinion, as long as those opinions are derived from facts.
Sadly, it seems that a lot of opinions are formed on untruths and half-truths, especially on Facebook. No one side is guiltier of this than another; every agenda seems to have its fair share of misinformation.
For instance, a meme that claims that George W. Bush has the lowest IQ of all presidents for the past fifty years is absolutely untrue. Another untrue meme claims that the majority of Barack Obama’s campaign contributions came from a handful of wealthy overseas financiers.
The next time you see a disturbing anecdote or statistic on social media, take five minutes and vet it for accuracy before you share it. Sharing lies, even with good intentions, helps no one.
We live in a world where fear-mongering shapes our political and social agenda. What would happen if each one of us made the commitment to stop spreading fear and lies, and only shared what we discovered to be true?