Wickedness of humankind evident on Internet

Look at the Internet details indicates empathy's decline in modern society.

It has been argued that without empathy – an inherent aptitude to show love and compassion for one another – man as a species might have perished long ago.

This viewpoint was counter to the perspective that we are naturally selfish, unruly, wicked creatures.

While the former might indeed explain our longevity, there’s validity to both of these perspectives.

Anyone wanting proof of the prevalence of our dark side need only look to the Internet, where actions based on empathy often appear to be greatly outnumbered by evidence of a nasty, brutish society.

Director Werner Herzog’s new documentary, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, touches base on some of the social nightmares the Internet has enabled – such vileness as cyberbullying, which today is an all-too common occurrence, revenge porn and other forms of personal attacks that can only be described as evil. One example of this is  the experience of the Catsouras family, whose daughter Nikki died in a motor-vehicle accident in October 2006. The accident was said to have been so gruesome the coroner wouldn’t allow the parents to identify the body. However, photos taken by the California Highway Patrol were leaked online and the parents soon found images of their daughter’s remains on cruel, sadistic web pages.

The family has been fighting ever since to have the images removed. What’s worse, they also receive copies of the images by email from anonymous senders, typically masked with misleading subject headers. One email arrived with the header, “Woohoo Daddy! Hey daddy, I’m still alive.”

Recently, we ran a story about a Malakwa couple with a child on the way who suddenly found themselves in need of an affordable place to rent – a challenge for anyone in the Shuswap’s rental market. After the story’s publication, we received two responses from people with helpful tips. The majority of the feedback on our website and elsewhere on the net, however, has been critical of the family, particularly the man, for his current reliance on income assistance and not having a job (or jobs).

How does this translate in the real world? It’s sometimes less difficult to see, but it’s out there.

The other day my wife, while out and about with our son, witnessed a handicapped gentleman being followed by a group of older teenagers were walking and mocking his awkward stride.

It was a moment that stuck in her mind. One would like to think we’ve progressed beyond this type of behaviour.

Of course, one can’t make assumptions based on the actions of a few.

As a reporter, I hear of many inspiring stories about people, young and old, selflessly engaged in activities to benefit others. These are the bright flashes of compassion and empathy that remind us of what we can be, and inspire us to do better. Sadly, these flashes are either ephemeral or simply fail to illuminate the darkness in so many who find gratification in the condition of conflict, of everyone against everyone.


Just Posted

New crop of contestants ready to dance

Couples meet instructors for Dancing with the Shuswap Stars, the popular event set for Nov. 23.

Saturn and semi tangle near Chase

Driver of car suffers only minor injuries

Expanded opportunities at recycling depots

New items not included in curbside pick-up programs to be accepted

Silver Creek student snags top spot in high school rodeo rankings

Raquel Marchiel qualifies for finals rodeos in first year of competition

Update: Shuswap wildfires now under control or contained

Three fires reported overnight in Silver Creek, Logan Creek and Mt. Ida

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

Cozy Bay to close

Summerland seafood restaurant’s lease will not be renewed

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Reported stabbing in Lake Country

Police are believed to be investigating after a reported stabbing at a house party Friday night

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

B.C. man wins job he was denied after saying he had depression

Transport Canada has been order to give Chris Hughes a high-level job and nearly $500,000

B.C. soldier shot down a century ago to be honoured

Norman Stuart Harper, of Kamloops, was killed on a bombing mission over Lahr, Germany, in 1918

Most Read