A religious sister, writing in the Kyeongyang magazine, recalls meeting an acquaintance who had returned to Korea from the States and asking if she found the country any different than it was before she left. "There are many things that have improved, she said, but some of the thinking is not to my liking." Asked to explain, she said the classmates she hadn't seen for quite a few years mostly spent their time together bad-mouthing others. There are so many interesting daily events that we could have talked about; it was upsetting, she lamented.
The sister wondered when we began getting involved in gossip, suggesting that the current fascination with the scandals of the rich and famous might have provoked this recurring menu for our conversations, with even our spouses becoming objects of gossip. But she had to admit that the habit has always been with us, with the social networking service (SNS) increasing the tendency to disparage others. What is the reason for this? What joy is gained from alienating another, pointing out faults, expressing ill feeling? Does it make one feel more united with one's group? Make one's strong points stand out? Does one feel better because of it? All questions she is still pondering.
Because so much of how we see others depends on how we see ourselves, sister would like us to pay attention to the image we have of ourselves, changing that image if necessary. The as-long-as-I-don't-get-hooked-into-this-all-is-well thinking, she says, has to be put aside, replaced by seeing ourselves as having a common destiny and being responsible for all our words and actions. We have to fight against examples of evil, foster the common good, and work for the evangelization of the culture of cyberspace, which is currently filled with spam and hurtful comments. Should we not take upon ourselves the task of ridding cyberspace not only from the viruses that infect its smooth operation but from the mental viruses that keep us from functioning in a manner that will assure us a fulfilled and meaningful life?