Life Giving or Deadly?

One of my favorite episodes in the history of the BBC show, Doctor Who, is an episode called 42, written by Chris Chibnall. (If you’re totally confused about what Doctor Who is about, click here.)

The Doctor [David Tennant], and his companion at the time, Martha [Freema Ageyman], land on a ship that’s about to crash into the sun in 42 minutes (done in real time during the show’s run). According to Wikipedia, the episode is called 42 to pay homage to the “answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything” in Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, which in that series was determined to be 42.

Imagine the stress of solving that problem. You get creative when your life is on the line. That’s why this episode is one of my favorites. That and the fact that the sun has always been a source of fascination for me. It can be pleasantly warm on a spring day and lethal in a desert or a drought. It’s untamed. The same object that is life nurturing can kill in an instant.

Words are like that. I don’t have to convince you of that if you have a Twitter account or other forms of social media. Perhaps you’ve witnessed one of the infamous Twitter mobs where one tweet launches a thousand words—each like a flaming arrow—at a target, igniting a war. But in just about every case, the flaming arrows defy the laws of physics in that after they hit the target, they boomerang and hit the first tweeter as well, usually within a day or so. Even when tweets are deleted, they live on through news stories and word of mouth. Many a career has derailed because of a word.

Many times, I’ve said things in anger I wish I could unsay. But I’ve never experienced regret after affirming someone.

Every day we have a choice to be life giving or deadly; to enlighten someone or to burn him or her with a word.

Heard a good word? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Pinkie Pie thinks the chicken’s tweet, Everyone is a cluck, will cause problems down the road. But the chicken is adamant and refuses to delete the tweet.

Doctor Who 42 images from Wikipedia and the BBC. Sun image from Union of Concerned Scientists. Other photos by L. Marie.

38 thoughts on “Life Giving or Deadly?

    • Sad to say. I saw the boomerang effect just recently, which prompted this post. In fact, this has happened several times just this year where someone started a war and then after gaining support, was then turned on by another mob. It’s just a mess.

  1. I do think that we should praise, comfort and be kind whenever we can, but I also think there’s a place for criticism and blame – I often think that our reluctance to call out the unacceptable allows it to thrive. The problem is that there no longer seems to be a consensus about what’s unacceptable, and I’m not in favour of these too frequent twitter campaigns to silence certain views. Why celebrities and politicians ever tweet without getting someone rational to think about the impact for them first totally beats me, however – yes, indeed, their tweets will live forever and be used against them, in or out of context.

    • So true, FF. I wonder if some celebrities like to do everything themselves without the benefit of a publicist with sound judgment!

      There have been so many Twitter mobs lately, one of which prompted this post. Sometimes behavior is called out, but then the person who calls it out realizes, “Wait. I didn’t have the right context. Sorry.” Which then prompted a retraction, and then more angry comments. That’s what happened in a recent incident.

  2. I’ve seen many of those wars started on social media, L. Marie. When I do, I disconnect. Words have so much power and the effects can be long-lasting. It seems the people who say the most have the least to say.

  3. I have seen these instances on social media, too, and it saddens me. I read somewhere that if you’re upset about something, you should wait at least 24 hours before posting about it in a public forum. I would add that maybe reach out to the person you’re upset with first. Exploring conflicting ideas through meaningful conversation seems lacking in society today. Everything is based on emotions.

  4. “Every day we have a choice to be life giving or deadly; to enlighten someone or to burn him or her with a word.” Reading your blog is a “life giving” experience, Linda. Your words are rational and thoughtful, kind and generous.

  5. Pinkie Pie will not cause a problem in my book. 🙂

    I just read the words from Psalm 19:14 today, which should keep me on the straight and narrow: “Let the words of my mouth . . . ” Blessings on the day, L. Marie!

  6. “Every day we have a choice to be life giving or deadly; to enlighten someone or to burn him or her with a word.” ~ L. Marie

    That’s a quote that should live on forever.

    I’ve been contemplating doing a post about the social media “debates” I’ve been having. Your post gave me more food for thought. I’m still in the deciding-whether-to-post-this-topic stage. 😉

  7. I don’t see many of those social media wars, but I hear people talk about them. Either I’m oblivious to what is going on or I run with a polite group of people. Anyhow, I shall say something nice: good people do good things for good reasons in good ways. 😊

    • Judging by the people who comment on your blog, your circle is indeed polite and supportive, Ally. 😀 So I’m glad you don’t see many of these social media wars. In regard to YA fiction, there seem to be a lot of them. Not sure why that’s the case. 🙁

  8. I try never to say anything that I would be upset to see repeated on the front page of the New York Times. (Not that I’m quoted there often). 😀

    Good thoughts, LM.

  9. I keep hearing about Doctor Who, but I’ve never watched it.

    I have a Twitter account, but I almost never look at it. I enjoy the posts of most of my Facebook friends. I suppose Facebook algorithms keep posts I wouldn’t like away from me. Like Ally Bean, I don’t see many social media wars.

    Every day when I take a walk, I run into a neighbor and we share a good or kind word, often just a comment on the weather, but it’s meant with kindness and friendly concern.

  10. Thought provoking post, L. Marie, and timely. While I am on social media, I tend to stay away from tweeting, but, experience it in FB. Recently, a friend posted a viewpoint, to which one person politely posted an opposing viewpoint. A third party came in, quite nastily, and ranted. You’ve see that. What then happened was that the opposing writer said they have been friends (real friends) for most of their life, often engage in opposing views in a productive, respectful manner, and ask that he do the same. He didn’t “get it”. Sigh
    I try to stay positive and find something to compliment rather than bring down.

    • Thank you, Penny. 😀

      What an uncomfortable Facebook exchange. So many people rant on social media. Many say things they wouldn’t say to someone’s face. The safety of the screen, I guess. The air is too toxic. ☹️ So I’m delighted that you stay positive. I’m trying to as well.

  11. I wonder whether there will be a time when everyone has gotten fed up with social media and its toxic effects and we can return to our normal, “relevant” topics and life. Timely post and so true as well. I have been playing with the idea of writing a blog post “Is social media toxic?” Maybe, one day. Thing is that there is a lot of good that comes from those connections as well… I’m partial to the word “respect” in any situation.

    • I wish we would! I so agree with you! I keep waiting for the day when everyone gets fed up and the toxicity gets cleared away. Positive posts can help usher in that day. 😀

  12. I saw one of those Twitter wars and certain people’s involvement (and the side they chose) really shocked me. I’ll just say that it’s never a good idea for an author to respond to critics on social media.

    • I’m pretty sure I know which one you mean, since it’s the one that prompted this post. I think the hardest thing is to avoid giving in to the emotion that pulls you to post. I can’t guarantee that I wouldn’t respond in a like manner, even if doing so has serious consequences. I can only pray for the courage to avoid starting a war.

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