After President Rodrigo Duterte was elected, I naively thought that our country could now start the healing and move forward. How wrong I was! The divide has never been more apparent… and the internet has made it worse. Our country is at a precipice divided by über subjective ideals.
If you criticize certain things the current administration does, you are accused of being a part of the “Yellow Army” and, in the same coin, if you praise something the administration does, you’re labelled as a “Dutertard”. Why should we think that every political discourse has to come from either one camp or the other? Why does it always have to be Red versus Yellow? God forbid that a comment about our political situation could actually fall outside those two labels!
Despite our word war, however, I did learn a few things about scrutinizing our own comments and motives. Here's what I've learned...
The first thing I’ve noticed is how we understand objectivity and subjectivity.
OBJECTIVITY vs. SUBJECTIVITY – This is a tricky one. Many of the abovementioned arguments happen because we cannot determine if we (or others) are being subjective or objective. So, how do we know if we’re being objective or subjective? Without trying to over-explain it, here it goes…
OBJECTIVITY is when you are passionate about or are trying to achieve an objective or a result regardless of the personality or personalities involved. You are also objective if you value objects more than personalities. You are being objective when you make an argument about our political situation (or anything else) because you want the government to accomplish a certain task or objective (like lessen taxes, fix traffic, create more jobs, fix the drug problem, etc.). When you’re being objective, you usually don’t care who the president is so long as he/she can do the job… and, if the president doesn’t get it done, you start to criticize him/her.
SUBJECTIVITY, on the other hand, is when you care more about the personality regardless of repercussion or validation. You are being subjective when your love or hate for a person or personality (like Duterte, De Lima, Pacquiao, Trillanes, etc.) matters more than the objective or result trying to be achieved. When you’re being subjective, it usually doesn’t matter if the person you love or hate is right or wrong. You passionately attack or defend that person because of your disdain for or belief in the person. You have a hard time accepting others’ points of view (even if they are objective) if it bodes well for the subject of your ire or gives a negative impression on your idol.
We are both subjective and objective in our arguments; but, the key to keeping our heads during an online battle of comments is to scrutinize ourselves first Are we being objective or subjective? And… let’s try not to lie to ourselves about it.
The next thing I want to discuss is bias.
BIAS – Many of us fall into the trap of believing that we are being unbiased in our reasoning when it’s obviously the opposite. We have to realize that there is no such thing as an unbiased opinion. All opinions, whether they are objective or subjective, are biased. I am biased. So, maybe we can stop using bias as a basis for our judgement.
Now, let’s talk about trolling and satire.
TROLLING – Trolling, on the internet, is the act of making a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response. Trolls simply feed of your angry responses. They do not play by the rules; hence, should not be taken seriously. So, don’t feed the trolls!
SATIRE – It is when someone uses humor, irony, exaggeration or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in politics and other popular issues. How many of us have actually shared satirical news articles thinking that they were true? I have. The lesson here is that we need to do our research before sharing anything.
We need to be more discerning online. We should recognize trolls and satirical articles and take them as they are supposed to be taken… with a grain of salt.
Finally, let’s talk about respect.
RESPECT – More than discipline, more than creativity, more than pride, we, Filipinos, lack respect. We lack respect for traffic rules, the environment, the law, other Filipinos, foreigners and even ourselves. So, it’s no surprise that we lack respect for other people’s opinions. Yet, more than politics, economy or foreign image, our lack of respect is what divides us as a nation.
If we want to start the healing, we have to start with respect.
is the Managing Director of Our-Knowledge Asia and a Business Consultant for Local and Foreign Start-ups, SMEs and Organizations based in the Philippines.