The image on the top speaks of the origin of the interesting Hinglish word. Surely this was more easy to understand than his old jargon, exasperating farrago. I will pen down my reflections on the new word webakoof. Whether you like the word or not, there is a lot of truth in the meaning of the word.

We live in a post-truth society, where truth is not determined by facts, but by every other means. So one of the determining means is messages/videos in the social media. The famous American archbishop Fulton Sheen say, even if the majority says opposite, a wrong act is wrong and right act is right. Such extremity is slightly problematic. But we have gone to the other extreme. If majority/influential/powerful says something is right, even wrong can be made right. And in the web-age, I may not believe a message if it looks against my belief. But if I get a lot of messages about a particular thing (which may look factual, but it is not), I start believing it as facts. So there is a new way of creating facts.

The Holy Books like Bible and Quran are based on revelations to certain people, and we believe them to be God’s word and accept it. Vedas are Sruthi literature, which is heard by seers and it is again accepted. Indian philosophy accepts testimony (sabda) as a valid means of getting true knowledge. But it is the testimony of authorities in any field. At different points in the journey of evolution, we accepted priests, scientists, politicians and business men as the authority. (Whether it was the right perspective is to be questioned). Many challenged against it too. Advertisements, movies and peers were some other authorities. But I think today we have given this role to social media. When I accept the immense usefulness of social media and internet, I really doubt whether they can be authority without any discretion.

Trolls are the major beneficiaries of this authority of social media and internet. Trolls, without any sort of research, dictate the research findings. Without any investigative journalism, they declare the verdict on individuals and organizations.

Quite a few companies spent a lot on advertisements and reduce their R&D funding and they realize it is more beneficial for profits. Politicians spent more on internet and social media for campaigns and spent less on actual needs of the people. Creating a positive environment about themselves and negative environment against the rivals is the most productive thing according to psychology. Facts are becoming useless for judgements, and we are on the journey to become webaqoofs.

When social media activism creates an efficacious platform for the voices of the poor and vulnerable to be heard, trolling is an over-productive platform for the strong to manipulate the weak. It is for the society and individual to decide what should be the basis of my belief systems. Can I continue to uphold my option to choose what to believe or whether I became a slave to manipulators?

A Jesuit interested to think and write; Loves philosophy, spirituality, politics…. Believes in God & well-being of all humans… Open to difference & newness..

A Jesuit interested to think and write; Loves philosophy, spirituality, politics…. Believes in God & well-being of all humans… Open to difference & newness..