Cancelling the "Cancel Culture"

Siew Png Sim (text)

Gilles Lambert (graphics)

Cancel culture is being more and more prominent as of late. From the Logan Paul situation a few months ago, the Kanye West Trump hat fiasco, to Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn. The “culture” is on high alert and ready to pounce on their next victim. An increasingly mob like mentality of this so called “Cancel Culture”. Not only does it develop even more division amongst ourselves, but it creates a sense of fear to have open thoughts and dialogue. Is that really the progressive society we are fighting for? Or are we really treating each other’s views like leopard spots, because as individuals we do and will always change.

Before I go further on, I would like to clarify that I do not fully agree or support any of the actions or stances of the people that is mentioned above and I do understand the criticism of their actions. But there is something that pushes beyond that. That is empathy and it’s the driving force of this “cancel culture”. Not a lack of empathy, but rather an unbalanced direction of the empathy that we put out into the world. It is obviously easier to empathize with others that share or even emphasizes your views. This causes a social “positive feedback loop”, where you will find it more and more difficult to think and have empathy for opinions different from yours. I’m guilty of this, and in this age of social media, it is becoming even more difficult to escape this loop of monolithic thought.

What this really boils down to, is our need to belong. A need to be part of a movement. This is natural, it is a trait that helps us survive. We find people with similar goals, beliefs and interests, because we know we are less likely to disagree and have conflicts. It becomes almost like an “extended family” or “tribe” and that is why we feel so defensive of it. To be able to come out of this shell will lead to an open dialogue and a true motivation to fix the issues that we are all so passionate about. It will no longer be bogged down by the confines of playing sides and partisan agendas.

For humans, a sense of belonging is still a necessity. Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs belongingness is a key part to our motivation. That is why we need a shift in our paradigm. A shift to a paradigm where we are able to see and work together in one “tribe”, and one “family”. It may sound idealistic but these are the age old universal ideas that we should all work towards, and the first step is to free our minds from this “cancel” mentality and be able to accept ideas without the filter of monolithic thought.

Haru Sukegawa

a thing about Lisa