Havel’s Greengocer and Social Media

Well, it’s been a while.

I’ll be honest, the main reason I’m blogging again is because I was silenced on Instagram. That was my only general, personal outlet. Twitter is 99% weather for me. I keep it that way because I’ve made weather-geek friends there, some of whom wouldn’t have anything to do with me if I posted about other things. That’s ok with me. I can tell we disagree strongly on some very important things, but because we choose to set all of that aside we can all admire a spectacular supercell structure. I don’t feel like I’m compromising anything by doing this; I haven’t hidden who I am. They don’t preach at me, I don’t preach at them. It’s very live-and-let-live.

I stopped making personal posts on Facebook over a year ago. It may be longer, actually; I can’t remember. The only reason I have an account there at all is for the shop. Facebook got nasty and I wasn’t able to do a good enough gate-keeping job.

I moved to Instagram at the urging of a few friends and found it very peaceful. I restricted my circle to those who were supportive, Christian (primarily Orthodox, but not entirely), appreciators of beauty, and not addicted to outrage. It was absolutely wonderful. Until it wasn’t.

Things got ugly in the yarn community first when Ravelry’s founder declared any support for the sitting president was undeniably support for white supremacy. Needless to say I left Ravelry. It suddenly became 95% a leftist, hateful bastion instead of around 50/50, something that was tolerable as long as you kept within your chosen circles. All I was there for was the patterns and my project database. The Ravelry ugliness spilled over immediately into Instagram, something I could see because of the number of knitters I followed. I started removing and blocking people until I had gotten back to a relatively peaceful place. Unfortunately, as anyone could have predicted, it didn’t end there.

I’m not going to go through all of the recent stuff that has been rolling through the site. I was shocked and saddened to see many people I considered friends jumping on the bandwagon. Was there a horrible incident in MN? Absolutely. Had I been at the scene I probably would have risked arrest trying to come to his aid. There are things worth going to jail over, such as saving a life, even the life of a criminal. Every life is valuable to God, and should be to us. Sadly, the reaction to that incident has been horrible and there is no justification for it. None. It has spread like an out of control cancer and is growing exponentially.

I kept silent and did not argue with people’s statements I found illogical. I lived and let live. After a few days, feeling the criticism of anyone not waving the flag de jour I posted some of what I had been reading that morning from Elder Thaddeus and St. Porphyrios on the virtue of silence and prayer. I did not reference anything else. I was immediately attacked.

Let me share Havel’s Greengrocer with you:

Havel uses the example of a greengrocer who displays in his shop the sign Workers of the world, unite!. Since failure to display the sign could be seen as disloyalty, he displays it and the sign becomes not a symbol of his enthusiasm for the regime, but a symbol of both his submission to it and humiliation by it. Havel returns repeatedly to this motif to show the contradictions between the “intentions of life” and the “intentions of systems”, i.e. between the individual and the state, in a totalitarian society.

An individual living within such a system must live a lie, to hide that which he truly believes and desires, and to do that which he must do to be left in peace and to survive.

Wikipedia article

This is an example of virtue signaling before “virtue signaling” was a term. When you experience extreme pressure to post rainbows, “black lives matter”, “me too”, “believe women”, “love wins”, etc. (and the list is huge), because not posting these is a de facto declaration that you are the Enemy, you are living under totalitarian rule. Interestingly, the totalitarian rule currently being set up is installed not by the government, but by the citizens themselves. The enforcers are not the police or military, but the mob. Why else on earth would a producer of, say, ball point pens, be anxiously assuring everyone that they support BLM and are making a sizable donation? Think about it.

One can no longer simply be silent, avoid conflict, refrain from criticism, keep one’s head down. We’ve moved way beyond that. Now, if you don’t at the minimum post a black square on Instagram at the appointed time (which, by the way, is one of the most ineffective and cost-free things one can possibly do – risks you nothing and earns you respect and accolades from the group currently in power) then you are a Racistand you have shown yourself to be less than human, void of all decency, deserving of any evil that can be used against you. What you think, believe, and say doesn’t matter. What is shown in an examination of your life doesn’t matter. You aren’t even human. Think I’m exaggerating?

He’s not fringe. 331,000 followers.

I have seen what BLM stands for. I have seen how people claim virtue while treating others like trash. I spent my entire nursing career taking care of every soul entrusted to me. I treated every single one with care and respect, as if I were taking care of my family. My conscience is clear. God knows my heart.

I will not join. I will not get on the bandwagon. I will not virtue-signal, and say what the mob wants to hear. I am an Orthodox Christian before anything else and I will not affirm anything that is opposed to that. I may keep silent to protect my family and my property, but I will not burn that pinch of incense.

26 thoughts on “Havel’s Greengocer and Social Media

  1. Matushka,
    I finally (after wavering due to false guilt) left social media, I really think for good. I did not vote for either party in the last election. I have had several non- Christian friends reach out to me in the past week to say how much they are struggling with shame. That is what finally convinced me. I am asking God to help me repent where needed but to stay sane. I sent a personal email to Fr. Stephen Freeman and got a lovely response which has given me a lot of hope. You have been so much on my mind this week. I was justonerobin on instagram, ironically I started the blog to celebrate Emily Dickinson and small living. I am returning to what I feel is my mission to love God and neighbor where I am. God help us be sane.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was being so gaslit last week that I emailed to spiritual father to ask “am I racist?!!” Nothing in my life suggested it but knowing we can be blind to our own sins I didn’t trust myself, and everyone was telling me I was. He assured me I am NOT a racist and comforted me tremendously. It reassured me that it was all gaslighting and I was not crazy. I will continue to say something is evil when it is. I’m not on any “team” and have no scruples being critical of any political party or any group regardless of whether the mob has bestowed immunity upon them. However, I will probably go back to being silent on the whole thing, posting quiet, boring blog posts with pretty pictures, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I am not catholic but was in a Protestant group and without knowing any of us, they seemed to want all of us whites to admit we are racist. I left the group very quickly and none of them cared or noticed so I shudder to think how the other whites in the group were made to feel.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this post. You have said what has been on my mind for a few weeks. Being a true Christian is so very hard. Yet, in the end, so very worth it. I too, have refused to post any type of insignia that represents any of the movements going on. My only symbol is that of my Saviour . Yes, I will stand up for injustice but will never condone violence to make a statement. BTW……you post what you want and feel on this blog. It is your blog. Anyone who doesn’t like what you say can leave. If someone can not disagree without your views in a constructive manner, then they need to grow up and move on. I have been attacked on my blog recently. I now review all comments before allowing them to be posted. Do not let anyone silence you with their words. Your heart is beautiful. Sorry, I didn’t mean to make this so long. Blessings and peace on you and your family.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So sad. I take it you have deleted your account? I will miss it. It was a window into a very special and loving person In my life.

    I’ll be watching for more blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for this. I almost never comment (anywhere) but I wanted to express my support. There is a lot of very uncharitable shrieking going on, which I suspect is very counterproductive if the goal is to heal relationships between the various groups of people in this country. This is a time for silence, prayer, and penance. My psalter is calling.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. As I read this I am listening to Ben Shapiro and he’s talking almost about the same thing on his podcast today. I left Instagram because I knew where it was going and I knew that I was going to be blackballed for not jumping on a bandwagon or trying to stay out of the fray. I was in a forum on Fb for photography and they came for photographers by saying that white photographers are “no longer allowed to photograph black people.” I feel sick to my stomach and dizzy after being on social media so I walked away. I can’t live that way anymore — offended 24/7 a week? No thank you. I’m sorry the mob got you but I have a feeling you’re going to feel a lot better with it gone

    Liked by 1 person

      • It is not. And it is scary but as Christians – Catholic or Protestant, we knew and know this was coming. And we know things will get worse, but we also know who is in control and who we belong to. And because I am so nervous these days about offending anyone, I truly hope this comment doesn’t offend anyone! 😕 😂 Please take it to mean it as I mean it .. a unifying post among Christians during a tough time. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This post said a lot of things I was feeling and didn’t know I needed to read. I’ve been really silent over on Instagram for a while now, deleted it off my phone, check it once a day on my computer, and even still it has a huge potential to overwhelm my life. Mostly I don’t understand how a movement that on the surface seems to support loving all human beings is so violent (physically and psychologically) in its undertakings. I don’t know how to respond to it, especially not when people who should share my views are all reacting so differently. In other words, thank you for writing this and expressing for me what was inexpressible.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This post, which is really more like a well-planned, well-written essay, is spot on.

    Prayer is the only answer to all of the hurt, hate and angst we see around us. Sorry you faced scrutiny on those other platforms, happy that that difficulty encouraged you to return to writing on this platform. You have a real gift for writing and cutting through to the truth of the matter while affirming that the loudest most powerful voice for change is the one that directs itself to God through prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

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