The projected individual

Recently, the hottest event is the Tokyo Olympics. When I see Chinese athletes losing the competition for various reasons, I always think of Liu Xiang. The former national hero, just because of his withdrawal due to injury, aroused the anger of netizens across the country. The higher he was praised, the harder he was criticized. Now, more than ten years have passed. Will such things still happen?

What is sad is that such incidents still occur. Wang Luyao, a Chinese athlete in the women's 10-meter air rifle event, apologized on Weibo after failing to enter the finals, but was criticized by netizens for "taking selfies even after failure." The comment section was filled with verbal abuse... What is comforting is that now the violence is limited to the internet, not as intense as it was more than ten years ago, and it does not escalate to sending death threats.

Thinking about other incidents, I can't help but wonder: why are people so easily angered nowadays?

In addition to the anonymity provided by the internet, which allows users to hide behind pseudonyms, and the widespread use of the internet, which lowers the average quality of netizens, are there any other reasons?

Recently, I have noticed one point, that is, the attacks from netizens have a common feature - what angers them is not the individual, but the larger entity they believe the individual represents. For example, in the case of Wang Luyao's failure, in their eyes, it is not the failure of an athlete, but the failure of the country she represents, which damages the national honor. Similarly, in the Zhengzhou rainstorm incident, those who tried to film the scene were attacked by numerous netizens. Netizens do not care about the purpose of the filming, whether it is to record the truth. They categorize all of them as tarnishing the country and serving "foreign forces".

When an individual is no longer seen as an individual, but is projected onto a huge entity, the reasons and details of the individual's actions are no longer important and are not cared about. What netizens care about is the larger and more macroscopic entity behind the individual, or the entity they believe in, which in many cases is the "country".

Why does this situation occur? I think it is closely related to Chinese culture.

It is generally believed that there is a significant difference between Eastern and Western cultures, that is, Eastern culture is a shame culture, while Western culture is a guilt culture. East Asian countries are very concerned about face and feel more uncomfortable with losing face than with death when they do something shameful and others find out. Western countries, on the other hand, believe in the inherent guilt of human beings due to religion, and therefore need constant redemption.

In addition, Chinese society is a society based on personal relationships, and the relationships between people are extremely close and complex. A person's actions are easily known by others, and therefore easily subject to various evaluations. Because of the concern for face, people will invest a lot of energy and resources in specific situations just to save face. As Fei Xiaotong mentioned in "From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society":

But in the ceremonies of weddings and funerals, the idea of frugality disappears. People believe that the expenses in wedding and funeral ceremonies are not personal consumption, but the fulfillment of social obligations. Filial children must provide the best coffins and tombs for their parents. As mentioned earlier, parents should do their best to prepare the best dowry and wedding gifts for their children's weddings, and, if possible, arrange the most lavish banquets.

If a person handles things poorly, not only does he feel ashamed, but he also feels that he has brought shame to his family, and even the entire clan. In the eyes of others, this person has no future, and the family no longer enjoys the corresponding prestige. A person's actions can affect how people outside the family view the family.

This cultural mindset is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people and cannot be changed in a short period of time. The prevalence of the internet has brought many such netizens into the picture.

In addition, many young people nowadays like grand narratives and constantly talk about national righteousness, but they have never cared about the small things around them. In grand narratives, things become simple, and logic is reduced to a matter of right or wrong. There is no concern for the suffering of individuals, and everything is condensed into general terms such as "how pathetic" and "amazing". They can't even describe things anymore, so how can they express emotions?

Let go of grand narratives and start caring about the warmth of individuals.

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