Why are we so mean?

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Somehow last week I stumbled onto the website "Get Off My Internets." I've probably been living under a brick or something, but I had never heard of it before. I ended up on a page critiquing a whole bunch of blogs that I read.

I admit, I totally got sucked in and ended up reading different threads for more than hour.

The thing is though, that when I finished I felt awful. Criticizing someone else, or in this case reading other people's criticisms, didn't make me feel better about myself. I just wondered why we are so mean?

Why do whole websites exist to tear apart other people? Couldn't we use that time to do something productive instead?

I was thinking about this for the rest of the week when I stumbled upon this article.  A study found that just 8 weeks of meditation increased compassion and decreased meanness. Basically meditation decreased stress, which is a common cause of mean behavior. It gave me hope! Maybe we don't all have to tear each other apart?