‘Quiet quitting’ socmed

“As it is, replacing ideas with emotions is an all too real danger.

September 3, 2022

An exasperated friend recently told me she now seeks temporary refuge from our toxic political culture as played out in social media.

“You can never know the truth about anything these days. There is just too much disinformation out there,” she said of her predicament.

Evidently, she is sick and tired of the “mad maladies of our age” — historical revisionism, fake news, and alternative facts — colonizing social media and wants a moment’s peace.

We can relate to her.

After being sucked into the vortex of head-spinning social media networks these past few years, familiar now is the decaying turn of our social media networks.

Plainly, the social media hysteria of fake news, post-truth, and alternative facts bred alarming political polarization where people just can’t talk anymore to each other about politics, especially with strangers, without derision.

Alongside polarization, we also identity the fact social media opened a Pandora’s jar of intemperate and ill feelings wherein no one now quite knows, despite the fact checking, how to put those freed malignant furies back into the jar.

Thus, social media respite in the guise of “quiet quitting” becomes somehow viable as the original “quiet quitting” is for work.

Noticeable, however, is the fact some did already start “quiet quitting” by maintaining only physical or virtual social circles wherein one needn’t say much to be understood on political issues.

In such circles, “right,” “certainly,” “agree” markedly became some of the frequent phrases.

Or if not such words, agreeable equanimity in social media is maintained by the “like” or “love” emoticons on Facebook or retweets of agreeable posts on Twitter.

Either way, many certainly got emotional boosts from their reactions.

Agreeable emotions on politics then are what we’ve been actively seeking out in recent days.

Be forewarned, however.

Even if we seek safe places or circumstances, we mustn’t replace well-founded democratic ideals or ideas with mere emotions, no matter how enticing.

Otherwise, we become like the people we object to.

So, if ever we do take a leave of absence, it doesn’t mean we also take of leave of our right senses or of our honest reflections on what in fact happened.

As it is, replacing ideas with emotions is an all too real danger.

In fact, incessantly disregarding logic, which ideas engender, in favor of emotions is the commonest trick of devious local political actors to successfully cast the opaque fog of disinformation and revisionism in our midst.

But the feelings they took advantage of were the “negative” emotions of anger, resentment, envy, fear, and aggression.

Such types of emotions have been proven to have played a palpable role in the rise of Filipino populism in recent years, political theorists say.

Theorists, however, are also all agreed that such emotions aren’t recent Filipino sentiments.

These emotions, in fact, have been lying in wait for many years, shut out of “mainstream” public institutions until a brash populist, an ex-president, and social media allowed these to all come flooding in, bringing out the worst in the Filipino.

Deleterious the effects of these “negative” emotions may have been, another consequence has been the relative ease by which political fairy tales were hoisted on Filipinos who didn’t know better.

In no sense are these “fairy tales” political ideologies. Most were just tools to unify disparate groups of Filipinos around a central emotion powerful enough to unite all yet vague enough to mean something to everyone.

What is one “fairy tale”? Only a populist strongman can save us or bring greatness to our country.

Such a “fairy tale” is redefined ceaselessly in the relentless information war in social media. So much so many are sadly ending up bat blind and stone deaf to factual opinion and logical reasoning contradicting it. Here if only because they feel factual opinions are supposedly drily “unfeeling” or elitist.

Such are the issues confronting us now that even if we take leave, our urgent task is still to dream up novel and convincing ways to impress upon the duped to calm down.


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