Every Day, Something I Find Online Brings Me To Tears

Young woman with a happy tear.

One of the best descriptions I have found of the Internet, is that it is an amplification of every aspect of human nature. There is joy, laughter, deceit, love, sharing, friendship, jealousy, and competition online — everything a human can feel, can be found on the net.

Every single day, I find something online that brings me to tears. Not just tears of sadness — tears of many emotions. I am rocked left and right, I am shaken with shock, stirred with empathy, and jostled with laughter.

There are two things that are noteworthy with this. Both relate to how enemies of the net (and therefore, to some extent, of human nature itself) describe the net. But first, let me give some tangible examples. These are some things I found within the past 24 hours.

Tears of Joy

This is a video of an 8-month-old baby, who was born deaf. The baby has had Cochlear implants (more or less an electronic eardrum) surgically inserted — a prosthetic device that creates functional hearing for the rest of his life. It’s not pitch-perfect crystal-clear sound, but it’s a whole lot better than nothing.

Observe what happens as he hears his mother’s voice and laughter for the very first time:

I still can’t watch it without crying.

Then, there are other emotions. I found this late last night:

Tears of Empathy

There are many places on the net where you can leave anonymous messages, like things you think people should know from where you work. It could be dirty secrets from the financial sector, it could be scandal whistleblowing from governmental agencies, or it could be something that somebody just wants to share from where they work.

Like this.

Words… fail me as I start to try to describe this (and I feel my eyes getting wet and unfocused again), so I won’t.

And then, there’s plenty of this:

Tears of Laughter

The below clip is part of an interview with a foreman in a Russian coal mine, where there have been rumors that people have been drinking while on the clock. As some sort of elder in the mine, he is adamant on television that there is no abuse of alcohol whatsoever in this mine.

It is related to this clip, where an older man driving a car in Serbia is flagged down by police on suspicion of intoxication and asked to check for alcohol content in his breath.

Even the police are cracking up in this one.

Where am I going with this?

If you’re anything like me, you don’t know what to feel after having gone through those, but feel like a pinball being bounced all over the emotional playfield by strong feelings of all kinds. It’s actually kind of unsettling, but also makes me feel very alive, and… for lack of a better word, human.

Now, forgive me as I use these strong emotions to make an intellectual point. I have given these examples for a reason.

All too frequently, I see industry people raging in media about how evil the net is, about how it is just filled with hatred, bullying and fear (and therefore needs to be brought “under control” or “in order”). That brings one of my most valuable life insights to mind:

Everybody sees the same things, has the same sensory perceptions, in a given situation. We can impossibly focus on all the thousands of things we perceive, so we choose some that are important to us. What we choose to focus on, defines us as individuals, and that aspect of what we perceive will grow in our life.

What I realized was that I (and everybody else) have the choice of focusing on the things that bother me, or the things that make me happy. Growing old to be a bitter, grumpy old hunchback man or a happy, joking and statemanlike smiling man is an active choice we make. I choose to focus on the things that make me feel alive and the all the beautiful things that make me happy.

And that’s how it struck me.

If these people say that the net is just filled with evil people bullying each other, and therefore must be regulated and controlled: I have no reason to doubt that is what they see. But that also means that this is what they choose to see. In the face of all this beauty, all this breathtaking emotion, they choose to see only that which is depressing and makes them sad.

That tells much more about those people than it does about the net. I find it genuinely sad, and can’t express it any other way than my straightforward reflection: what a small mind these people must have, who are incapable by choice of absorbing and enjoying all the beauty that flowers when all of humanity’s love and emotion is amplified to this degree.

Also, as a final note, it is notable that none of the examples above were “content” in the meaning that the copyright industry would like to put it in. The self-appointed representatives of that industry still claim superiority over the ability to produce, filter and determine what we are entertained by. But this isn’t that. This is not professional, it is not orchestrated, it is not financed, it is not planned.

It is human.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot.

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Discussion

  1. Johhny Brill

    The internet is not an amplification of every aspect of human nature. The internet is a mirror. It is a mirror that reflects who and what the person is who is using it, searching it or posting on it.

    Media types always talk about the bad things on the internet because that is a reflection of what they are; bad people.

    Control freaks (Statists, bureaucrats, politicians, busy bodies, frightened members of the public) always talk about bringing the net under control because that is a reflection of their bad, immoral inhuman character.

    People who are interested in doing good, make tools like Bitcoin, Pledgebank, They Work for You, and other useful, beneficial and protective things. That is a reflection of their good, moral, human character.

    The internet doesn’t amplify these human traits, it reflects them and facilitates their spread.

    1. AeliusBlythe

      It is both amplification and mirror.

      The internet is a mirror, yes, because those who fear the internet are also the ones under the impression that there’s this thing called “reality” and then there’s anything that happens behind a screen. They rarely realize that the internet is not a bunch of plastic and metal pieces connected electrically. The internet is people talking and thinking and giving and taking…. Thus it reflects what a person says and thinks and gives and takes…

      And the internet is an amplification, yes,because what the internet does is give people the choice to see or not see the multifarious aspects of humanity–including many that they could never have seen otherwise. Some people choose to look and try to understand and connect. Others choose not to, and these see only what’s in their own mind, which is a shame because it defeats the purpose of having a network that has the ability to connect all people.

    2. SBJ

      A truth with modification there. They see it all, but focus on the bad things because they realize they can twist that to their own advantage. That is what in the end makes them bad people.

      1. AeliusBlythe

        True. You see everything, but take what you choose.
        And that’s why people fear it and want it controlled, isn’t it? Because when you see everything, some people will take the good and some will take the bad. It comes down to choice–something very frightening to some people.

  2. vill

    where there have been rumors that people have been drinking while on the clock.

    Actually it is really sad sad story because this man is not drunk he was sick. Why I say was? He died one year ago. Also story with this mine is also nothing good.

    1. Robert

      Indeed, this video should be moved to the section of “tears of empathy”.

  3. Leffelini

    Hemskt vackert blogginlägg! <3

  4. von

    “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” — that’s essentially what you are saying here, right? Hmm…

    1. Uno Hansson

      von
      jaså… jaha… och…!?

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