Self Help

internet culture is f**king nauseating

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Matheus Puppe

· 4 min read
  • The internet has become tribal and divisive, forcing people into rigid ideological camps. This radicalizes many and stifles nuanced discussion.
  • People used to recognize growing radicalization, but now criticism is often silenced. Internet culture has shifted to focus on gender politics and “discourse.”
  • Tribalism leads to binary “us vs. them” thinking, lack of empathy, and attacking others over minor differences. People seek community but online communities are often toxic.
  • “Pick me” is used to attack women who go against the prevailing views. The term suggests they only do so for male approval, even though women primarily use it. This highlights the tribal tendency to turn on dissenters.
  • Leaders fuel radicalization by playing on emotions and issues that resonate with certain groups. Prominent examples include sensationalist figures who portray themselves as truth-tellers that society seeks to silence. Their popularity stems from continuously provoking hysterical reactions.
  • The hysteria around “incels” is an example of sensationalism. While violence like mass shootings is tragic, the overall level of hysteria is unjustified and counterproductive. It has undermined mental health discussions and leads to overreacting by portraying any frustrated person as a threat.
  • Acknowledging overreaction does not mean an issue itself is not serious. Both can be true. Hysteria causes topics to “lose the plot” and spread misinformation.

In summary, the internet has enabled unhealthy forms of groupthink, radicalism, and hysteria. Nuance and empathy are lacking. Perceived enemies are demonized while facts are distorted to fit narrow worldviews. But hysterical, sensationalist reactions often exacerbate these problems rather than productively addressing serious issues.

  • The situation that seems like an “80” level of severity may really only be a “50”, so there’s no need to react like it’s a “100”. Many people overreact to situations that aren’t actually that serious.

  • For example, many people overreacted to a 12-year-old saying dumb things after a breakup, calling him an “incel”. He’s just a kid saying outlandish things, like many 12-year-olds do. While not amusing, it’s not worth the level of outrage. Kids often say inappropriate things to be edgy without fully understanding them.

  • The word “incel” used to refer to genuinely dangerous people but now gets applied inappropriately to anyone who says something someone doesn’t like. Its overuse takes away its meaning. Criticizing someone’s sex life as an insult is juvenile.

  • The internet promotes radicalism and hysteria. Normal people can get consumed by internet nonsense and become increasingly unhinged, unable to see nuance. For example, Sneako went from making decent videos to shouting at the camera and embarrassing himself. He subscribed to an extreme ideology, caused unnecessary hysteria, spread misinformation, and used “incel” as an insult.

  • A young woman who has faced repeated harassment and assault in her life and online may eventually snap in anger at something that seems like the last straw but isn’t actually that serious. Her pain and resentment has built up over time from her experiences and what she sees online. While understandable, reacting angrily to a “50” as if it’s an “80” helps no one.

  • In summary, many issues that people react strongly to aren’t as severe as portrayed. But constant exposure to extremes and trauma, especially online, can make people quicker to overreact and less able to differentiate severity. Reacting to a “50” issue like it’s an “80” or “100” helps no one and promotes radicalism and hysteria. Nuance and perspective are important.

The speaker describes two scenarios to illustrate how lack of empathy and understanding can lead to harmful radicalization and polarization.

In the first scenario, a woman shares a vulnerable comment online that provokes a disagreement from a man who responds without considering her life experiences. Their argument makes them both more defensive and resentful.

In the second scenario, a man who has faced difficulties his whole life finds comfort in “red pill” content and speaks up about men’s issues, provoking a similarly unempathetic response. Again, the resulting argument radicalizes them both further.

The speaker says these kinds of interactions are how many people become radicalized and fall into “pipelines.” The core ideas of self-improvement and women’s safety are not actually opposed, but some groups convince people they are threats to each other.

The speaker argues we should show empathy for individuals, not view them as part of a collective. We should disengage from unproductive internet arguments that only spread “negative energy.” Most people online don’t actually care to have their minds changed; they just want to feel good or powerful. It’s unhealthy to be constantly upset by what you see online.

The speaker says they were once very disturbed by things they saw online, like extreme homophobia in response to fair criticism. The internet allows harmful ideas to spread in “weird vacuums.”

Most people put themselves in ideological “boxes” but it’s better to take ideas from anywhere and create your own perspective. You can hold a mix of liberal and conservative values. Try not to become radicalized. Understand that people may be responding more to a history of frustration than directly to you. Most people just want their pain and experiences respected.

In summary, the speaker argues for more empathy, nuance and understanding in how we engage with others online in order to avoid harmful radicalization and bring people together.

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About Matheus Puppe