Social media and karuna

Monica Lewinsky gives TED talks about her ordeal following the exposure of the 1995-96 Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal in the White House. The Internet and emails were around, and news and comments on the then-22-year-old intern’s affair with President Clinton was splattered all over print, audio-visual and online media, exposing her personal life including conversations on phone with friends and relatives. What the devastating coverage lacked, she says, was compassion.

Lewinsky says if not for her supportive parents and friends, she may not have survived. She quotes the instance of a young teen recently who took his life when his affair with a boy was made public on social media and he was trolled so severely that he could no longer take it. Lewinsky says that as human beings, each of us make mistakes in our lives, especially when young and vulnerable, so should we not view one’s errors of judgement and behaviour with kindness and empathy rather than vilify the person to the extent of pushing them over the brink? A kind word, an empathetic

or a word of understanding especially on social media can reassure the victim that all is not lost.

While social media has its advantages of reaching out to a vast audience to promote positive causes, it also has a dark side of cruelty and hatred that spreads even faster and wider. So let’s go back to the basics of wisdom teachings and include karuna, compassion, in our lives.


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