Earlier today I received a notice from Discord that said that one of the nearly 100 discord channels I am in said something hostile towards some sort of protected class–that was the language it used–and said that those who had read such matters (I had not, as it was a server I never visited or read) had the responsibility to inform Discord of content that was going on in a server that they did not approve of. Similarly, I have seen some of the people I interact with in Discord viewed as being suspected of belonging to some sort of groups that Discord apparently does not approve of while soliciting information about them that might lead these people to be removed from the platform for violations of the community code of conduct. Without knowing any information about these people or these servers, because my attention is directed elsewhere, I have never had the slightest interest of looking into the matter to find something or to provoke some comment that would be worth reporting to Discord or any other social media platform.
In an unrelated conversation I had with a dear friend of mine online, my friend was talking about the conversation she was having with a friend of hers who recently moved out on her own after having some sort of row with her parents. I was concerned that the argument had something to do with boys, but at least from what I can gather, a big part of the disagreement involved the friend’s mother not wanting her to have plants in the house. Who would be against having plants inside like friendly succulents is something I do not understand since plants make life much more enjoyable when they are around, as long as they are low maintenance, as many of them are, and even someone who does not have a green thumb like me has occasionally had plants around to liven up the space around me, and happily so. I commented when hearing about the information that was going on that friends communicate with each other, and that one of the important aspects of friendship is the trade in information, which is sometimes referred to as gossip, that occurs between friends where they exchange information that is of mutual interest to them back and forth, thus staying informed about each other’s lives.
In a further unrelated conversation I had that related to this same subject after dinner when I got home, the person I was talking to commented on his annoyance that there seemed to be interference with some of the radio programs that he was listening to throughout the course of the week that had some particularly pointed things to say about the corruption of our contemporary age in high places, and that this interference reminded him of the way that the Russians similarly disrupted radio broadcasts in Europe through interference so that news that was contrary to their dishonest propaganda could not be heard by ordinary people who did not need to know the truth. Nor is this an isolated problem–corrupt political regimes in the past few decades up to the present day have long sought to disrupt the ability of people to become informed about what is going on or to inform others about what is going on concerning delicate matters that the state does not want to be known widely. Those who do not want the truth to be talked about or broadcast have many unpleasant ways of seeking to silence others. At best, one gets one’s radio broadcasts or internet connection interfered with. At worst, well, this blog is a family-oriented blog so I cannot go into those details.
What is the silence of an enemy? There are certainly occasions where it is better to be silent, like when someone has something stupid to say and chooses to exercise those few brain cells that are available to avoid saying something foolish. That is wise silence, though, the sort of silence that prevents us from inserting our foot into our mouths. The silence of an enemy is something different, the alienation that occurs when we do not give others proper information that would be useful to them because we do not care enough about them or their well-being to communicate with them. The communication of friendliness is a mutual two-way street of information that is useful, enjoyable expressed. But the silence of an enemy occurs when someone refuses to inform someone else of what they are doing, even if they demand information from us about our own plans and behaviors. Without mutuality, there is no genuine friendship. What is it that leads people to become uncommunicative with others? We can find interaction with others to be irksome and unpleasant, especially if other people are not prone to respect or honor us. We can feel immensely irritated that we are holding our tongue out of politeness for others but do not receive the same level of graciousness in response from others, and find that irritation sufficiently unpleasant that we seek to minimize our contact with those who fail to behave according to reciprocal norms of friendly and open and respectful communication. But whatever reason we are silent, the enmity in our hearts cannot entirely be hidden, even if it is not understood.