Casting Your Shadow Online

Occasionally I’ll migrate a post from Facebook to here because I think it’s worth keeping. This is one of those.


Every few months or so, I try to communicate how the Shadow works, and why we shouldn’t unfriend people on social media for provocative ideas and sanitize our intellectual space. Here’s another angle. Ask yourself, wouldn’t it be great if there weren’t evil in the world? Well, it’s a wrongheaded question from a certain standpoint. There’s no evil in the world. It’s all in you. Deep, huh? No, seriously. How do you know that those around you aren’t robots? Because you process them as fellow moral agents. You paint them with non-robot qualities.

If I were to sever the connection between your limbic system and your prefrontal cortex, something that happens (and may have happened to some extent to the recent mass shooter, by the way), you would lose your ability to do moral calculation. The upside would be that evil would be removed from the world for you. The downside is that you might have a hard time deciding not to butcher and eat the baby when you get hungry.

Perfectly non-evil people do horrifying things all the time, because they’re brain-damaged. Those of us who aren’t don’t have an excuse.

The evil out there is purely theoretical. Your own evil? That shit is real. If social media is to do more good than evil, we have to use it responsibly. Trying not to provoke other people is part of it, but not being provoked is our first duty.

About robertpkruger

Writer, editor, and software developer. Former president of
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