A Divided Society

I logged onto my blog today to see I suddenly accumulated a ton of fews over the past two days. Apparently my post about me obtaining the Zodiac Zeta Dragoon weapon was referenced on Reddit and it’s kind of exploded my viewers numbers for two days. It’s a nice surprise to wake up to, considering the subject of the post that I’m actually going to write.

I’ve been walking around with the idea of this post since Wednesday after the results of the latest elections in the Netherlands. Waking up to the latest Final Fantasy XIV keynote and people’s reactions to it all over the internet has spurred me on even more to write down my thoughts on a subject that’s been becoming more and more apparent over the recent years: society is getting more divided and harsher. I find this a very worrisome trend and it fills me with a certain unease in regards to the future. Even though I tend to keep my political and societal views to myself and even though I want to keep this blog more focused on games I felt the need to write a political tinted post. Even if only to get the words out of my head and onto a screen.

I consider myself in the political center when it comes to politics. Dutch politics work a little different than the two party system that a lot of countries worldwide adopt, instead we have a fractured political landscape with 10+ political parties that are scattered from extreme left to extreme right on the political spectrum. I’m sure some of you may have heard of “Geert Wilders”, a well known right politician that is anti-islam or maybe the new rising star “Thierry Baudet” who is on the same side of the spectrum but uses a different angle to get people to vote for him. Especially this latter politician is described as the Dutch version of Trump and for now it seems he has the same “surprise success” factor that Trump had in the US elections a few years ago. On the other side of the spectrum we have the rising stars of the party of “GroenLinks” who identify as being rather extremely left and also very environmentally engaged. They have had their history of extreme left hiccups and, like the parties on the right side of the spectrum, it’s an ideology that I keep myself very far away from. I guess it’s a sign of times and a changing society that these more extreme parties were the winners in our elections on Wednesday. It outlines that our society is getting more harsh and more extreme. The gentle center road with compromises to either side seems to be walked less and less and instead people rally around extreme figures on either side. I don’t think our country has ever been divided this badly and I wonder if it’s a rift that we can somehow heal. Us Dutchies used to be known as being a sober bunch with a clear outlook on the world. We may be considered rude when we tell things how we see them but we are honest and compassionate. Right now though I don’t see these qualities at all anymore. Instead I see a society that is bitter and divided, angry about many things and rallying behind whoever words their woes the best. We don’t want to understand why our neighbour votes the complete opposite of ourselves anymore, instead we condemn eachother and widen the breach, damaging close relationships in the process.

I see the same thing happening in general when I look at online and especially gaming communities. The best example being the decision made by Square Enix to make gender locked races in the new FFXIV expansion. I myself find myself in a position where I wouldn’t have cared either way. I’m happy playing my Miqo’te so the chance of me rerolling to any new race were slim to begin with. A lot of people are enraged though and think this whole gender locking thing is ridiculous. This ofcourse spurs another group to tell them to “stop whining and accept it”. Once again I don’t see that much people voting their neutral opinion. Maybe because they think it’s no use or maybe it’s the people who usually keep their mouth shut and just enjoy/accept what’s coming their way. It still means that the overall tone of debate grows harsher and more people feel unhappy because they feel like they’ve been done an injustice. I feel this has been a long time coming. With the boom of the internet and the ability for people to express their opinons anonymously the overal tone of debate has gotten more toxic. We have gotten more vocal as society, we want to be able to express our opinons and be heard. Social media has made this possible and unfortunately this also means that you get a platform for opinions that people usually kept to themselves because of their content. All in all it’s making the internet an unfriendlier place to be in for all participants, something that is slowly bleeding over into “real” society. As someone who tries to befriend anyone it’s a rather unsettling place to be in. I really hope that at some point we will realize that we are going in a wrong direction in our online and real communities.

I’m no exception to this, we all have things we need to work on. I’m not perfect. I’m unhappy with many things in my life. Some things I can change, some things I can’t. I vocalize some of these things where I probably shouldn’t. It’s a thing I need to work on. I try to be more understanding of people who don’t share my opinions. I try to learn. It’s a bumpy road and it causes friction along the way. Right now though  I just really dislike the intense debate that goes on without people trying to understand the other side of the coin. And I think this lack of understanding may eventually be society’s downfall. I’m just hoping I won’t get to see that in my lifetime.

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