We have become a society of reaction.
I am not sure where this change specifically occurred. I would like to say that the social media culture created it, except that I find it somewhat unbelievable that an entire societal shift happened in that short a period of time. It had to have been moving that way anyway, until the technology of social media made it possible to react in full force.
Once upon a time - and within my lifetime - this would have been called "flying off the handle". Now, it too often seems to pass for thoughtful response and action.
Every action now begets a reaction, almost without an afterthought. No matter what subject - anything from politics to food to simple tasks- we are deluged daily by not a series of thoughts or rational opinions, but reactions. And this is not limited to one "side" of the argument: both sides engage in such behavior. Often, the reactions almost outpace the actual developments themselves.
As you may have discerned, I am not a fan of the "reaction".
Partially it is due to the fact that I have often reacted instead of being thought and deliberate, and almost without exception it has never accomplished the things I intended to do. Partially it is due to the fact that reactions, being too often not clearly thought out and considered, essentially just gives ammunition to the other side; sometimes the reactions create more of an opening than the original action themselves. And partially, I suppose, simply because in reacting, we use words and thoughts and more often than not fail to advance those things we are reacting against.
The response to this is that just because there is a thoughtful and reasoned response, it is not necessarily better than a reaction. And I acknowledge that. People can be thoughtful and just as wrong as reacting (although to be fair, at least in the thoughtful response one can see the reasoning, even if one disagrees with it).
The question I have come to ask myself every time I feel myself reacting is "Will this accomplish what I actually intend it to?" Most of the time, the answer is simply "no". A reaction given in the heat of the moment is not nearly as effective to the long term plans or goals as is something that is carefully thought through.
Reacting also seems to "give away the store". Most reactions - most of my reactions anyway - will reveal far more about where I am personally and my opinions and thoughts and even goals than perhaps I intend to reveal.
When I considered the bulk of individuals who have accomplished what they intended - and that could be construed as "successful" even if not in the way the World would view it - they are not caught in the almost mindless frenzy of action/reaction. They simply continue on towards what their goal is, be it world peace or founding a religious order or the world athletic record or business success. The goal determines their actions (and reactions), not events.
The question, at least for me, always has to be "What am I actually trying to do?" and "Will reacting make that more or less likely?"