Focus on You not Me

“Social media have played a significant part in the move from ‘We’ to ‘I’. In the world they create, I am on the stage, bidding for attention, while others form my audience. This is not how character is made, nor is it how we develop as moral agents. Morality is born when I focus on you, not me; when I discover that you, too, have emotions, desires, aspirations and fears. I learn this by being present to you and allowing you to be present to me. It is this deeply subtle interaction that we learn slowly and patiently through on going conversations with family, friends, peers, teachers, mentors and others. We develop empathy and sympathy. We learn what it is to receive acts of kindness and then to reciprocate them. Morality is about engaging with the raw human vulnerabilities of others that lie beneath the carefully burnished image, and about our ability to heal some of the pain. I learn to be moral when I develop the capacity to put myself into your place, and that is a skill I only learn by engaging with you, face to face or side by side.”

Morality, Chapter 3, p. 59