The Battle of Ideas
Most people today, me included, have never fought in a war with real weapons against real people. Thank goodness. Those who have are usually very reluctant to speak of what they faced. They would rather not talk about the ravages of war, and for a good reason; because war is hell.
There are wars fought with weapons that kill people and there are wars fought with weapons that disable the enemy’s ability to function allowing them to be overtaken without even lifting a finger to take a life. Those weapons, the ones which effectively take over a society, people, or person, are the subtle, yet powerful ones that win their victory in the shadows. Some are even hidden in plain sight.
Even though we may not have fought in a physical war, many of us have been in other types of wars that brought devastation into our life. The wars between people who either disagree with us, dislike us for any host of reasons, or who are seeking vengeance for some wrong they felt by our hand. We may even have been the ones seeking retribution for a wrong done to us.
The real battle in life, in our world today, isn’t between opposing armies; it’s between opposing ideas. These battles are fought in the marketplace of social media, political arenas, and in our education institutions. The weapons of this warfare are cell phones for tweeting, tablets for blogging, and, heaven forbid, the dreaded ‘Meme’.
I never knew what a meme even was until I heard it mentioned on Facebook. Even today, I’m challenged to define what it is, so I asked Google and here’s what ‘she’ had to say.
Meme: ‘An element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation – a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.’
Wow. Now that sounds dangerous. Yet, it was one of the most widely used methods by foreign governments attempting to affect our elections and our country. The MEME!...
The battle continues today with no stop in site. It seems that nearly 80% of all the posts I see on Facebook today are, in fact, some sort of meme, to the point it makes me feel like dropping my phone down the toilet (only that would just plug up the line and cost a lot of money to fix).
The better way, in my opinion, is to have open and honest dialogue between two people who can agree to disagree. The sharing of ideas by not just pointing at the other person, but by listening and understanding first. To get there, it will take a lot of love, patience, and a deliberate effort to put down our weapons (phones & tablets) to engage in real, live conversation.
I may be old fashioned and, yes, I enjoy the ‘Most Interesting Man’, or cat, memes as much as anyone, but we need to return to the time when we actually picked up the phone and called someone. When we answered the phone and didn’t know who was on the other end. When we visited someone at their home to share a coffee. When we didn’t use our thumbs to talk and used or mouths instead.
Today, here’s to using real, live communication to share our ideas. The battle may be on to conquer our country through ideas, but we can win that battle. The only way to win it will be by choosing to keep civil, love one another despite our differences, and, most of all, share our ideas through thoughtful communications.
Jesus won millions, not by viral videos, but with His voice, His love, and His example. We too can follow His example. I, for one, want to join that battle. I’ll leave you tonight with the meme below that has nothing to do with the topic today, but I thought it may share a 'common system of behavior' for some of us, and even give you a laugh.
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