Mostly Unplugged

Photo Credit: davidmulder61 Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: davidmulder61 Flickr via Compfight cc

Slow internet, a hacked site and offline concerns – those have been my issues this past week. They have kept me mostly unplugged from Facebook. Where before I would have the urge to check my phone regularly when it beeps to the latest Facebook notification, I have been blissfully uninterrupted in the office as my phone can barely connect to the internet there. This has been a blessing as I could focus on more pressing concerns at work.

When I arrive home, the notifications come in a swift barrage and I mostly just scroll through them and clear them all without clicking on them because I’m too tired to have any sort of serious discussion. I just look at some funny links to de-stress and that’s about it.

I also found out that my website had been hacked and Google had flagged it for containing malware. So the past few days were spent on the Linux command line trying to remember all the stuff I learned in college when Linux was still at its infancy. I had to weed out the malware, identify it, remove it, then figure out how it got in, and plug that leak.

Google seems to have been satisfied with my efforts and has now cleared my site from their malware list.

There was a time when I was crazily in Facebook for hours on end. I would be endlessly debating with one person or another, scrolling here and there, clicking on links, reading them and posting my comments, arguments, agreements or disagreements.

Now, I laugh when I remember those times, and I remember that life is certainly not just on Facebook, especially this past week when I found that I am comfortable being hardly active on it.

It’s funny when some people I hardly know judge me by what goes on in my account or my wall. My thoughts on religion, spirituality, politics and so on can hardly be encapsulated in a few status updates or even a few blog posts. They are also ever-changing and evolving as I consider other points of view.

Last night, I read Clinton Palanca’s piece 100 Days of Dutertopia. A paragraph that struck me there was when he talked about having laughed and dined with people he thought were his friends, and then later finding out that they supported the current administration. He felt betrayed, he said.

And I thought, for what? Because you made some wrong assumptions about them? Because you think that a prerequisite of friendship is that they should think the same way as you in all matters and have the same values you hold? Those people did not betray you (unless they were willfully deceiving you for some ulterior motive). It was only your assumptions that did.

It is the easiest thing in the world to stereotype people and put them in these little boxes so you can decide whether to love them or hate them – yellowtard, dutertard, those pretentious, exploitative Americans, those arrogant, self-serving Chinese communists, drug addict, criminal, and so on. Stereotypes and generalizations have their uses, but to use these to label a person and not to see them beyond the label is simply shortsighted.

No one person can be reduced to a label. Talk to a fanatic and you’ll find he’s not so bad after all. Talk to an intellectual and you’ll discover that she is not above being ruled by her feelings. The more you try to know someone, the more you discover that there is always more to know.

I just had a nice chat with a friend who has a different political stand than me, but we respect each other and can have decent conversations that do not degenerate into insults and name-calling (except in jest). I think that beyond sharing the same thoughts and values, the true test of friendship is acceptance of who the other person is and treating that person as respectable despite glaring differences in your beliefs and opinion.

And for those who can’t take that, there is always the option of the unfriend button.

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Email me at andy@freethinking.me. View previous articles at www.freethinking.me.

 

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3 thoughts on “Mostly Unplugged”

  1. All too true. I have various opinions which – I like to flatter myself – I have arrived at by logical reasoning, but whenever I come across any problem I find that I could easily argue in favor of an opinion which is directly opposed to mine. I would base these arguments on the often by no means illogical statements made by my friends who disagree with me. This is, I believe, the ‘correct’ approach, but unfortunately real change (for ‘better’ or ‘worse’) is usually the result of the actions of people who can only see the logic of their own point of view and consider all others as being either foolish or self-serving.

  2. All too true. I have various opinions which – I like to flatter myself – I have arrived at by logical reasoning, but whenever I come across any problem I find that I could easily argue in favor of an opinion which is directly opposed to mine. I would base these arguments on the often by no means illogical statements made by my friends who disagree with me. This is, I believe, the ‘correct’ approach, but unfortunately real change (for ‘better’ or ‘worse’) is usually the result of the actions of people who can only see the logic of their own point of view and consider all others as being either foolish or self-serving.

  3. Take me out to the knoll, but hold the electronics!
    Hold the ‘music’, ’cause there’s a beautiful world right there, and if I wanna return ‘energized’ with the gifts of real life, “I don’t wanna miss a thing!”

    Blind from poison, unable to see God, pursuing death, they burn fossil fuels, operate electronics and stare into screens, eat sugar, dairy, wheat – not ‘food’, they euphemistically call it “processed food” – and filling their lungs with poison smoke, they turn away from God with every step.

    Rather, to walk in heaven, we practice FA PU SHOU TIAN EN (“exercising the magic of ‘receive-accept-endure’ on the hard-to-bear universal education that is pleasing to the ear, from the sky, through nature-weather-paradise, heaven’s blessing”).

    法普受天恩 fa pu shou tian en

    I sit and listen to God; I also google youtube for music I grew up with, and I listen for a little while, but I don’t imagine that to be the bright light of the sun and moon, I know it’s the darkness, the darkness I wandered through as a teenager, and I listen in a renaissance of my teenage years, listen to find what signposts I might have been looking at, when I was looking in all kinds of directions, for the way out. And then I turn it all off and go outside for a long, quiet walk. Because time and space are not ‘obsolete’ but they are that ‘hard to bear universal teaching’ of God; time, a magical shaman once taught me, digested properly, is grace. (Where is ‘grace’ when the self is buried in screens of delusion?)

    Though we live in a permissive monothesistic and secular culture, where the pope says one thing while the radio plays in the background insisting on the opposite, there are several religions that warn against listening to music, too much music. Daoism, for instance, says stay away from that stuff, it’ll upset the processing of your liver, they teach. The religions of the middle east similarly ban music, yet the girls dance downstairs in the basement.

    Join us, the sages preach, join the rest of the universe – all the other species, the plants, the rocks and sand; wrapped in a Dharma-blanket of stars, sitting over ‘simplicity well’, looking down into the well of wonder, but also riding up, on the mystery that carries the stars.

    If you only take – consuming media; if you don’t give yourself, you have only yourself; (yourself to blame);

    The internet culture is truly a ‘galactic implosion’, like the apple in the Garden of Eden; the beautiful gift of God all around is on the other hand, blossoms outward.

    I’ve been contemplating my living bible, the sunshine-universe’s living breath, while the people I talk to remind me about Adam and Eve, My problem, I tell them, with Adam and Eve, is I think it’s absurd to take that apple, and when I try to figure out what’s wrong with the rest of the world, people on drugs, people lost in materialism, I think of Eve, but of course I don’t really blame her, my sister, I blame the snake and the apple; we’re learning the science of the super-voids, I tell them, how quiet mystery expands outward, from the voids, while pressure collapses inward, collecting in ‘knots’ on the outer surface of the expanding bubbles – halos, filaments, walls, they all collapse, while the voids expand; the divinity of emptiness expands, and the multiplicity of superfluity and separation collapses, so ‘hey, Eve’, (Adam should have said right away), ‘the garden of Eden radiates outward, and the forbidden apple collapses inward; you are making a choice, the choice to pursue death, why would I follow that decision? Why would I not try to help you understand ???’

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