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

Angler fined for over-fishing on Gardom Lake

It was an expensive fishing trip for an Okanagan man this weekend.… Continue reading

Flaggers unite on Okanagan highway

Traffic Control Personnel respond to colleague hit in Lavington

Dumping at Shaw Road “disgusting”

CSRD praises volunteers, wants illegal dumpers prosecuted

Sicamous pulls out of CSRD economic committee

District launches its own economic development corporation on Jan. 1, 2018

Freezing rain expected on the Coquihalla

Wet weather expected to cause issues on B.C. highways

Tattooing couple opens new shop in Lake Country

Cody and Fabiana Philpott opened NSI Tattoo in August

Washington Governor Jay Inslee visits B.C.

Premier John Horgan talks trains, pipelines with southern neighbour

Wranglers game a rout for Eagles

Week ends with 10-2 away loss in 100 Mile House

Viral video shows deer killed on Snapchat in Campbell River

RCMP say they have identified those involved and are working with conservation officers

Body found in burnt Kelowna home

“Firefighters later updated police that a body had been discovered inside the home. “

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million: auditor general

Michael Ferguson’s review hints the entire system should be scrapped

B.C. government poverty strategy tour set to begin

Victoria first for B.C. committee, province-wide until next March

UPDATE: CBS fires Charlie Rose following allegations

Charlie Rose is the latest public figure to be accused with sexual misconduct allegations

Ikea relaunches dresser recall after eighth child dies

Recall is for all Ikea chest and dressers and includ 8 million Malm chest and dressers that were sold from 2002 through June 2016.

Most Read