Human dignity and the social media


Our world today puts less value on the human person.

The individualistic culture fueled and reinforced by the social media phenomenon has distanced people, especially the young, from being truly involved in the task of uplifting human dignity and human life. Instead they are content with sharing stories which they deem would gather more likes, and perhaps affirm their popularity, which may just be virtual and an illusion. 

This culture has reduced the human person to virtual likes, virtual friends, and virtual follows. The more followers they have the more fulfilled they would feel, fueling an addiction that would drive them to spend more time in their virtual world, creating illusions of beauty and a fulfilled life, than on actually making a meaningful contribution to the community through the discovery of their skills and talents.

We take the example of a not so famous sexy dancer whose fame was boosted because of her engagement in social media. She is a staunch defender of President Duterte, and despite of her not so admirable past, because of her undying support to the President ever since the campaign, and because of her pabebe rants, posts, and tweets on various social media platforms, she gained a following from either those who love her, who hate her, who followed her simply because knowing her latest rants makes one “in the know”, or are simply amused at her uneducated and pseudo-professional rants. Still, she helped build Duterte’s bloating popularity and for this she was rewarded with several government positions. But is her example uplifting to the dignity of man? Recently, famous microblogging site, Twitter, blocked her account because of her one sided views and abusive posts against critics of Duterte. 

The dignity of others and her own have been reduced to self righteous rhetorics that is fueled by the desire for material gains.

But we don't have to reduce ourselves to such a state. Christ taught us to value human dignity by putting others first, even above our own. The message of love, of self-sacrifice is the very key for us to truly give honor to human dignity.

God's mandate to us, for us to love Him above all things by loving each other, and as demonstrated by His son, our Lord, would reveal to us the importance of love. Only witth love can we recognize the dignity of others. When we respect and recognize the dignity of others we are assured of peace, for shalom to be in our midst for then there would be no poverty as everyone would work for the upliftment of others, that they not experience the humiliating and degrading state of poverty.

The Church talked of human dignity rooted in the fact of our being sons and daughters of God. In Centesimus Annus (no. 11), Pope St. John Paul II made meentioned that, "Human persons are willed by God; they are imprinted with God's image. Their dignity does not come from the work they do, but from the persons they are," and the United States Bishops in its 1986 pastoral letter, Economic Justice for All, said:
"The basis for all that the Church believes about the moral dimensions of economic life is its vision of the transcendent worth -- the sacredness -- of human beings. The dignity of the human person, realized in community with others, is the criterion against which all aspects of economic life must be measured."
"All human beings, therefore, are ends to be served by the institutions that make up the economy, not means to be exploited for more narrowly defined goals. Human personhood must be respected with a reverence that is religious. When we deal with each other, we should do so with the sense of awe that arises in the presence of something holy and sacred. For that is what human beings are: we are created in the image of God (Gn 1:27)."
There are more teachings of the Church that encourages us and urges the faithful to honor the dignity of man being children of God. Despite this, our consumeristic culture has promoted exploitation and disrespect to the human person, allowing us to forget the truth of our heritage as God's children. At least when it comes to other people, especially those whom we don't know. We strive for comfort, which, in all reality, can only be achieved if we exploit others, in varying degrees.

For this, my effort should be in recognizing God in each and every person, and make effort in giving the best to the other, putting myself second.Being a servant, a true servant who serves and not one who does things that others may serve me, as if I was some VIP.


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