Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A Plea to the Public

It's funny that people think the fact that personal information is public on the internet somehow justifies attacking or commenting in mean ways. Well, it would be funny if it wasn't stressful. I know that most people have some kind of sense of common courtesy and either turn away from things that don't appeal to them, or leave respectful comments that carry no negative energy. However, a number of recent incidents lead me to try and remind the ones who don't belong to this category that it is not okay to criticize strangers on the net when there is no obvious desire from the other party to engage in such interactions. There is something called unsolicited advice. I implore people to consider if they would do so in real life, and what the consequences of that might be. I'm sorry to see that many people lack some basic social skills, and hope that they will wake up and realize they have something to work on if they wish to co-exist with other human beings in a reasonably harmonious way. Surely we all (including myself, of course) need to ask ourselves; "Would I like to be treated this way and is this really about the other person?" rather than hit the send button in a fury or state of over-zealous self-enhancement.

Let me give a few examples of what I think of as intrusive behavior:
  • There are lots of people, especially young ones, who ask me to be their friend on blogcatalog. The majority only wish to promote their own blogs and often try to strike deals such as "if you'll comment on my blog I will comment on yours". Their blogs are seldom within my sphere of interest and so I really do NOT have the time or interest to engage in meaningless exchanges of comments. Cricket or tips about how to make money on the internet truly do not interest me, and it should be quite obvious just by glancing at my blog and its theme. All this bargaining for attention is tacky, takes up my valuable time and leaves me drained of energy.
  • Some people take a look at my blog and wish to convert me to their beliefs. I'm sorry they feel that I'm on the wrong track. As it is, I really have no interest in islam or reading the Q'uran, just as I have no leaning towards Catholicism or Wicca. I can assure you that I was in ample opportunity to dig deeper into these if I had wished to while studying comparative religions at the university. I think it should be quite obvious that I have a clear spiritual line of thinking and am not intending to change it. And even if this is not clear to anyone else, those who are serious about the pillar stones of their religion might see that it's not in spiritual integrity to attack others because of their faith. Please take a step backwards and reconsider. Are you really changing the world by doing that? What has happened to the notorious religious reformers and their victims during the course of history? I have specifically stated that I do not wish to be saved by anyone. I wish people who visit my blog would actually read it from end to end before jumping to conclusions. And even then... well this is not really the perfect mirror of my reality, is it? Does anyone really think it is?!
  • There are people who think that what they understand from what they read is the truth as intended by the author. Well, perception is a key in the understanding of life, and even though I am not the one to say that subjective truth is the only truth I do feel it has a place in this world. But even if someone doesn't believe this to be true, I'd suggest that they consult their basic moral values and see if bashing others on the internet is really a proper thing to do. It's interesting how this tends to happen among people who come from democratic republics who believe in the freedom of speech. I know, because I can more or less tell where someone is from even though their comment is "anonymous". Yeah, anonymous...
  • Posting anonymous comments about the faults with my website is low. This morning I received this line: "remove the music, it's intrusive". Wow. It was so nice waking up to this, especially as it was so short and crisp, laconic, without any social fuss such as "If you don't mind me saying, I think that...". Someone must have felt about it very deeply, truly enjoying my artwork but hating the sound (which granted, is not my own). Well... my site is not really an online exhibition, but an introduction to my stuff. As it is, I'm not adverse to feedback but do appreciate a respectful approach. I know it's hard to conceive but these are my private spaces and you should feel honored to be allowed in. Thank you.
I'm sure that some folks out there don't care that others have a lot on their plate. In fact, it might be really exciting to pressure those who have a lot to deal with and see if they crack. Trouble is, there is no telling what is really going on behind the scene. I'd say, please don't even speculate. Be nice.

Artwork: "On Someone Else's Wall", photograph by author, all rights reserved 2009


  1. Hello again!
    Reading blogs on a "reader" like Google Reader is both good and bad. You can read a lot of blogs quickly but it discourages leaving comments because you aren't on the actual site while reading them.
    Your photograph and your blog comment drew me to log onto your site and comment. I really enjoy your "eye" for photography and wished you have a section where you described taking the photos.
    As for your comments in "plea to the public" unfortunately it is naive to think there won't be those who are going to hammer you with their "truth."
    It's a natural instinct to wish to find kindred spirits by posting blogs and often it happens but sadly the bulk of comments will be either no comments, or negative comments, or off the wall comments.
    You've created a couple of beautiful sites. Sometimes it just has to be enough to have created something you think is beautiful.
    Keep posting, keep creating.

  2. Hello, thank you for posting this Pardes. I'm sure you're right, especially with your last comment. I actually don't know what habits people have but I realize that many don't give themselves time to comment. I also want to add that I'm not naive, I don't think my last post will change anything at all. It was mostly a way for me to work with my frustration and let some steam off. If it makes anyone think twice, then great.

    Well, there's a link to my Flickr river and I have written stuff about my art on my website. Not so much about the photography as there isn't much to tell. You might like to read the post about ego as I included some viewpoints there. Other than that I don't really discuss the creation of my art much as I don't see why it would interest anyone. Thanks for the feedback anyway! Cheers *

  3. I really enjoy your writings.

    I agree with Pardes.

    And, it's all too easy not to comment when you do like something.

    Being human, eh!


  4. Thanks, Toni, that's very nice to hear! Of course, I'm mostly writing to let steam off and clear out my thoughts, but knowing anyone reads and enjoys it is certainly helpful!

  5. You are on the right path, and once people realize that we have a powerful spirit inside each and everyone of us. And once we come to terms with this we will receive inner peace. Please take a look at this website to help people become more informed. May god be with you.

  6. Thanks for your thoughtful post - I agree with a whole lot of what you've said. I find it is necessary to set my own *rules* and boundaries to maintain my own sanity (!) and energy around some of the more intrusive commenters, and pesky "friending" on blogcatalog. In the beginning I practiced the kind of social graces I would if it were a face to face meeting - responding personally to each - now I simply delete messages in my shoutbox that request link exchanges with unrelated blogs, realizing the offender won't even remember having visited me in an hour, since they are hitting avery blog they can click on! For them it's all about numbers, not content, it seems.
    By sharing myself in such a public forum I've learned there are many blessings, along with a few annoyances, but as long as I stay true to myself I'll end each day smiling.
    also, I want to say, love the rich colors and textures in this artwork!! best to you, Karin

  7. Thank you Ron for the encouraging comment. Advising people is a tricky thing, as you can never convert others, only inspire. I hope that some of what I do can be an example onto others but I also believe in revealing the human flaws that we all have. Perhaps what I try to attain is the middle path...

  8. Karin, you're so very right! While the internet mirrors the real world, it also brings a lot more of other people's behavioural patterns into our own living room. I have to admit I still find it very, very hard not to feel annoyed at unwelcome intrusion on my integrity, as I have no stress tolerance. Just have to try my best and use my blog to vent some of my feelings! Thank you for the lovely compliment, it's treasured! :-)

  9. There's always an urge in our deep self to "share" or "vent". Having inner peace and being by ourselves does not guarantee us staying anti-social. Conflict, disagreement and sometimes a bit sarcasm actually challenges the human intellect to learn and grow. Negative vibes are an essential part of this world and no matter how much we fight them, they increase the more we "try" to fight them. So, the best solution is to embrace the conflict, disagreement as another form or way of looking at things differently than one's mind is conditioned to look at. Nobody can "convert" you into nothing. It is your body and spirit and you are free to do whatever you wish to do with it. But there's always a responsibility that comes "packaged" with any freedom out there. Btw, here I said it is "your" body and spirit. As a man of faith, I'd take that back as I did not create myself and my spirit does not belong to me. Its owner is described by many with various names of God and I'm answerable to Him (swt) alone. And all of us are His (swt) lovely creation as well. So, if I'd hate someone just because of any of her/his hateful attitude or comment, I'd basically hate the very Creator (swt)'s creation who created me, you and everyone. Briefly, just embrace any difference, conflict and disagreement calmly, without throwing the fit. Our reactions to any such negative vibes define our own selves, not the ones who caused it. Hope it help :) Salam (peace). btw (swt) is an Arabic word Subhan Wa Taala's abbreviation which means Raised and Exalted.

  10. Hello Amir! This was posted long ago and I believe I have changed a bit since then... one can always hope ;-). I think you're right in that we are all in it together, there is a factor that ties us together and so hatred towards anyone else comes back to us. That's simply put, there are of course various theories about how this is supposed to happen. This is just a blog and sometimes I need to vent, partly blogs are there for that purpose (well that's maybe a bit cynical but...). We learn a lot through the challenges of negativity. What more can I say - I think it's all for the best in the end regardless of the frustration experienced at the time.