Regarding the Controversy over Shining Light on Cutoff Culture

Jeff Reifman
May 17, 2014 · 2 min read

Update: There is now a more complete followup Shining Light on Internet Rage.

With respect to the controversy related to Shining Light on Cutoff Culture, if I am able to contribute something useful, positive and constructive in addition to what I say here, I will definitely publish a follow up.

I obviously believe in the value of communication over silence. This essay has deeply upset a lot of people and I am very sensitive to that.

I wrote this piece to start a dialogue on cutoff. The resulting rage and controversy is a sign to me that this topic needs our thoughtful attention and healthy communication. I am hesitant to turn away from that.

Since I am practicing self-care, it’s been personally and technically difficult to filter the constructive food for thought from the volume of personal attacks, so I’ve likely missed the most thoughtful feedback. That’s unfortunate. Yesterday, for example, a reader sent an inappropriate package to my home. I literally can’t hear people when others are screaming nor does it feel very easy to open my heart to reflect deeply on what many of you passionately want me to understand.

Words are powerful, “every tool is a weapon if you hold it right.”

I believe in creating a safe space for people holding all points of view (Emma’s too). Outside of the scientific realm, I no longer believe winning arguments is as important as bringing people together so we can understand each other. Making a safe space for all voices to be heard is an essential ingredient of healthy communities. I agree with Brene Brown on public shaming.

I believe in responding not reacting. Gathering feedback, reflecting and writing something of value may take some time. I generally abide by “don’t feed the trolls.”

In addition to those who have been upset, a number of men and women have written me to express they’ve been deeply comforted by this essay. There’s something important in that. I won’t turn away from that either.

I appreciate the fifteen thousand people who Medium reports took the time to read the essay in its entirety, establishing full context in which to participate in discussion.

Again, “Everyone you come across in this world is in struggle; so be kind. Kindness makes things easier.” — MC Yogi


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