Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychoanalysis, states that the human mind is layered. He calls the innermost layer or the core “id”. Id, he says is our real self. He goes on to say that all our morals and our conscience are things imposed on us by the society and that our real self is vicious. If not for consequences, humans will do anything. And in today’s world, his words reverberate louder than before.
Most of us are members of Facebook or some other social media websites and are used to seeing memes on a daily basis. You might have noticed these memes becoming more and more insensitive recently. It is not uncommon for us to see a meme based on a person who died just the day before. Hell, there are memes on autistic kids and on sexual offenses. What does this indicate?
We all live in a better world today than we did yesterday. We all have more freedom to explore things, express our opinions and do what we want. Of course, there are bad things happening in the world, but we still are traveling towards a better societal structure. So, on a social media platform like Facebook, which encompasses people from all walks of life, it can be expected that we come across people with ideas or thoughts that might seem wrong to us. But we can’t expect everyone to have the same idea about a thing.
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Opinions differ. In reality, an opinion doesn’t exist. There exists truth. If we are asked to choose between two actors, some of us might choose one and some of us might choose the other. We call it our opinion. But from an unbiased point of view, one of them is better. We can arrive at this decision only if we take into account all the facts related to the situation. Coca Cola or Pepsi? Only one of them is better. CSK or MI? Only one of them is better. Image Source – Google
Opinions arise because of emotions. And emotions arise because of perspective. If there exists a man in this world who thinks what Hitler did is right, it is because he was brought up in such an environment. Perspective depends upon nature and nurture i.e., the nature of the person and the nurture provided to him. We can’t blame him for having such an opinion, even if it might seem dastardly to the rest of us.
So what if a man finds a meme on autism funny? Is he cruel? Is he wrong? Most of us might nod immediately, sentencing that man to eternal hell out of our anger. The fact is, even if he finds such an insensitive piece of art funny, there is nothing useful, if all we do is isolate him and make him more firm in his beliefs.
When we dive into social media, we have to decide not to take anything seriously. Because, the only thing media is good at is inventing fake things and exaggerating them. We must take everything with a pinch of salt. There are people out there who want to make us angry. Social media provides a safe haven for opinions.
Image Source – Google
And some people have unpopular opinions. It might look like everybody has the same opinion. The popular opinion turns into the right one. However, we all are living in an echo chamber, where we interact with people like us, with similar opinions and are tricked into thinking our opinion is correct because, the companies want to provide us a happy experience. And nobody is happy if no one agrees with them.
The real world is different; there are people with different opinions. Just think of how many homophobic people you meet every day. Do you want to pick a fight with every one of them? And that is why we get angry when we see people posting these kinds of memes. There exist thousands and thousands of pages and groups dedicated to offensive humor. Humor is what it is. We can laugh at it if we want. Or we can walk away.
Satire has evolved through the ages. Right now, the normal puns or science jokes don’t satiate our needs. We need something more, something relatable. And that is how these memes were born. They will continue to evolve, adapting themselves to the needs of those who create them. So, does the emergence of offensive memes mean that humans are returning to their basic animal instincts? Here comes Freud, with his Id. Are we really animals? Is punishment the only thing that’s stopping us from doing ugly things? We laugh at rape today. What if we become involved in rape tomorrow?
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That isn’t how it works. In social media, there is a screen between us and the world that prevents any real consequence. What happens when someone reports a meme? At most, the creator’s ID gets blocked. What happens if someone rapes in real life? He is imprisoned and hopefully, relieved of his mortal coils. Humans have nurtured their animal instincts for a long time. Only now have we got a chance to express them we are trying to suppress them simultaneously and we have evolved. We all adhere to law and order. We don’t kill and don’t steal from people. But, How many of us can say that we have never watched a pirated copy of a movie in our lifetime? How many of us can say that we have never bribed an official to make our job easier?
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We have grown to differentiate between morality and legality. Killing a person affects the society. Pirating a movie doesn’t, at least not in a significant way. Dark humor isn’t moral but is within legal limits. Humans have lived within moral constraints for thousands of years. Law arrived some decades back.
It will take us some time to get used to it. We need to calm down and allow people to talk whatever they want. We may not agree with them, but we must fight with them and for them, if anyone tries to suppress their right to talk. As Evelyn Beatrice Hall once said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
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