10-day Golden Week coming up means that I’m actually not that busy right now… perfect for some Yoshi-P catchup!
(This column is not FFXIV-related)
#102: “Things that Come Back to Bite You”
Published in 2018/02/15 issue
I feel that humans are cruel beings. All living creatures possess this “cruelty” to some extent as part of their survival instinct, but humans are crueler than necessary, and from my observations of the internet, it feels like it’s getting worse and worse every year.
For example, animals that travel in a herd are cruel because they’ll give up on weak or injured individuals and leave them behind. However, this isn’t the case from the very start—they’ll still try to protect the weaker one for a while. After all, the whole point of moving as a group is to preserve their species. But in the event that it exposes the entire group to danger, they will be cruel and abandon it.
Meanwhile, in modern society—especially in Japan—when someone’s weakness is discovered, everyone tends to latch onto it at once, attacking them and casting them away. It’s crueler than necessary. People who work in online game development and management get a lot of unwanted exposure to scenes like this. I’m more resilient to these things than most people, but even I get fed up with it. I don’t really care when people say bad things about me (I might get a bit depressed depending on how I’m feeling), but when I see them slinging nasty insults at people I trust, or even at complete strangers, that’s when I wonder how people can do such cruel things.
Some people tend to form groups with others, while others live freely on their own. Both types exist, because while humans have the same instincts that all animals do, they’re also endowed with far greater intelligence and reasoning. I feel that the “unnecessary cruelty” I’ve been seeing lately is more common with the first category of people.
They assume that the values of the group are equal to its morals and ethics, or they use those values as justification for attacking someone. The people in the second category think, “People can do what they want, as long as they aren’t breaking the law. Everyone has their own values”—so they don’t participate in those deeds. At most, they’ll remark on it from their point of view.
This trend is spurred on by the numerous social networking services (SNS) that are popular in Japan. This doesn’t mean that SNS is bad, but it may be that the structure leads to mob psychology, groupthink, and whatnot overlapping in a way that makes it easy for things to take a negative turn. It feels like celebrities, models, and self-employed people are forced to use SNS as advertising platforms, but on the other hand, there are also people who end up becoming famous in a bad way.
I don’t mean to object to SNS usage, nor is it any of my business how people choose to use them. I just don’t think that people who can’t draw a clear line between their professional life and their private life should use them. Personally, I don’t even use LINE, let alone SNS, but I feel like if I were to start using Twitter or something, it’d definitely turn into a flaming account. As for using the internet to post news/info, I did a lot of that around 20 years ago, so I don’t have any plans to do it anymore.
Right now, I don’t have any solution to this. All I can do is question why everyone attacks others the way they do, and why they say such cruel, criticizing things. You don’t gain anything from doing that, and you surely shouldn’t be satisfied from doing it. First of all, who cares what strangers do with their lives? Even if they do something scandalous (like adultery or going on a drunken rampage), it doesn’t have any effect on your life.
The most confusing part is that even though everyone should know that already, it actually seems like unnecessary cruelty is increasing in frequency. While something like adultery might be ethically unacceptable, the moment it’s exposed, the perpetrator is already going to receive some sort of punishment. They could lose the trust of their family and friends, get fired, suffer financial loss, stop receiving work offers, etc. As for the drunken rampage, once they’re tried by the law, they’ll face an even greater punishment.
After writing it like this, saintly people will probably come out and say, “Just because they received punishment doesn’t mean they can be excused.” However, whether they can be excused or not is for the law to decide, not outsiders or the mass media. I used saints as an example, but an actual saint would surely forgive them and warn them not to do it again. That’s why they’re called saints.
I’m repeating myself now, but I’m not criticizing any specific people or influences here. It’s something that I’ve always been questioning by myself.
Sometimes it’s excessive bashing of someone that seems to have done something the attacker thinks is wrong. Sometimes it’s excessive bashing of the one doing the punishing, who the attacker believes made the wrong judgement call. If this is done with a consistent viewpoint and after thorough investigation, then I can still understand the underlying opinion behind it. However, I feel that many of these cases are only based on superficial information, like the posts on news summary sites. I really just can’t understand why people do these things.
Bluntly speaking, I think it’s a waste of time. Posting things is fine, but I don’t see any meaning or value in jumping to extreme cruelty like it’s a spinal reflex. In the event that it’s being done as a means of stress relief, one day it’ll come back to bite you. By that, I don’t mean that you’ll end up as a victim of attacks from others. I mean the feeling of regret that will surely assault you when you finally realize, “How could I have done such meaningless things?”
 TL note: LINE is the most popular messaging platform (similar to WhatsApp) in Japan, with over 217 million active monthly users worldwide.