If you spent any time on Twitter last night you probably witnessed an onslaught of invective.
It appears that just about any time a “cultural” event occurs, we are treated to an endless stream of snide and sarcastic remarks about the participants. Sunday night brought us the MTV Video Music Awards, so this time the juggernaut of judgment was brought down on Taylor, Miley, Kanye, etc.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve been an active participant in a fair amount of my own Schadenfreude-Palooza’s. And on my best days all that does is remind me how easy it is to be the critic rather than the man in the arena.
For me it’s good to be reminded that my snarkiness is often the path of a coward. It’s so easy to sit in judgment, without exposing my work to the world. It’s so easy to make myself feel a tiny bit better by putting others down. It’s so easy to consume and critique, rather than produce and ship.
Maybe if I remind myself of the words of Shirdi Sai Baba–“before you speak ask yourself: is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve upon the silence?”–I am better able to engage in the world from a place of compassion rather than harsh rebuke.
Maybe if I accept that the willingness to dare greatly is not about taking potshots at people I will never meet, but rather about putting myself in the situations that I too readily judge.
Maybe, just maybe, my place will not be with “those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”