Consider this meme.
Last night, I watched an interesting lecture on the fall of Rome that challenged the long-standing paradigm of how the empire met its ultimate end. (Here's a link) In the lecture, the Professor makes the point that we cannot rely on the historical rhetoric to understand the fall because it is propaganda. In other words, the distinction between Roman and Barbarian was manufactured to serve a political purpose; yet it does not reflect the true 'facts on the ground'.
In the same way, we spend a lot of our time dwelling in the manipulative, abstract dichotomies of both traditional and social media. I would suggest that our online lives don't describe who we really are either. In fact, if we were to encounter those who write the nastiest Tweets or YouTube comments in hospitals, funeral homes or public performances, I suspect our in-person experience of our online adversaries would be quite different, but we never let ourselves go there, do we? Never let down your guard. Too risky.
Whether from politics or business, there is an extraordinary amount of artificial pressure placed on each and every one of us to perform to achieve some sort of greater goal. And yet, for all of the supposed achievement that has already come via the 'enlightenment' (I hate that term), society has only become more entitled, less patient, and less generous as a result. Society has also become less honest, as it rarely mentions the trail of wreckage left behind by every 'accomplishment' it trumpets.
As it turns out, cognitive science has developed a list of maladaptive schemas that describe various fractured ways that we interpret and respond to life. One of these schemas is called the "unrelenting standard". We're not talking about perfectionism here (which is bad enough), but an impossible standard where nothing is ever good enough. Social media has not only helped to coalesce this destructive attitude into a depressed cultural outlook on life, but it prescribes discord and invective as a means to palliate the very sense of hopelessness it creates.
Professional musicians are under an enormous pressure to create music for society so weary that it no longer appreciates music. It used to be good enough to come up with a catchy tune and some beautiful harmony to go with it. But now appreciation has given way to stimulation, presumably to numb the pain of life, such that every piece must be overwrought with technical polish and ear candy so that folks can "get off" on our music as though it were some kind of drug or a sexual device. If only music could command the same price as street drugs and pornography! Worse, many of those who still appreciate art only do so because of its power, and not because its beauty.
Ok, so what does any of this have to do with the meme? Well, it's just a long-winded way of saying that even though we live in a weary world that is generous with criticism and stingy with praise, it is a more accurate description and experience of reality to celebrate and encourage the astounding level of talent and intelligence contained in this forum than to criticize and ignore it.