Loving The Trolls – A New Take on Forum Etiquette
While writing a response the other day on an online forum I had a realization come to me. A long time famous saying and piece of wisdom is false when it comes to online discussions. This is the ancient wisdom from the Book of Thomas, “Do not cast your pearls in front of swine”. Amazingly I don’t believe that this has become common sense and it’s time for a change.
When discussing any topic on the internet, especially since the advent of smartphones, the shift from being a wellspring of the collective knowledge of humanity, to a tool of expressing one’s feelings and thoughts in the effort to effect change in others, has been a dramatic shift. Much of the deep wisdom inherent within the medium has been drowned out, not just by us as humanity sharing our own mindless chatter, but actively by those forces that wish to manipulate, obfuscate, control and instill fear for their own machinations. The way to identify this is anytime a post tells you what to think or feel, you can immediately consider it misleading in its nature.
Many people take this as a sign of the times and just exit the conversation. Or they look at the individuals that do this within the internet as being “Troll”, label them as such and shut down the conversation. I’d like to propose a third way that I have found to be exquisite and full of depth of meaning. This is the path of Love. Let’s explore what this means
The Answer is Always Love
When we run into post, sharings of information or those who detract and distract with their actions (solely to be an satan’s advocate rather than an alternative lens on a point of contention) many of us have knee jerk emotional responses or trigger patterns that cause us to get into a kerfuffle which can sometimes lead to much more. Now the modern term Troll works great for these people, however this can also reference those that actively spread disinformation due to an agenda or emotional/intellectual scarring or wounding. So what do we do with this. If we respond with the expected pattern, the Troll gets fed and continues. If we label someone a Troll, the conversation ends, which also may be what the Troll or other entity wants. It seems like a no win game but the fact is it’s not about winning in the first place, it’s about being Love and sharing Love. So how do we do that? We speak to the part of them that is wounded, or false, out of Love. Look at them as your child, or your grandmother, a friend, or maybe even a victim of a child molester. Not to feel sympathy but so that we can respond from a place of compassion. Think of how you would treat this persons words, knowing that they are born out of ignorance, fear, wounding, being lied to or just being lonely and hurt.
There is no reason to ever lie in life and there is definitely no reason to ever lie online and yet we see it all the time. We know people say hurtful things to others, not just to hurt them, but because that is how they have been hurt. We treat others how we treat and feel about ourselves. So maybe next time you get triggered, or are hurt, or fearful about something online. Take a moment, breath, slow way way down and ask, how can I speak Love to this person and understand why it’s so important.
What Does This Have To Do With Pearls
Now I hear you, James what does this have to do with Pearls. Well let me tell you…
When you feed a troll by using a well thought out, and felt out, response, your words tend to create more wisdom in the world. Words said in Truth and Love are inherently wise, even if the recipient is unable, or unwilling, to receive that wisdom. Now pre-internet wisdom would say, save your words as they are going to fall on deaf ears, the person you are talking to isn’t going to value a single thing and you are most likely going to bring more ire upon you. However, that all gets flipped upside down on it’s head on the internet because, now follow me here, what gets put on the internet stays there forever. The person you are responding to may not have a clue about what you are talking about, especially if you start asking them why they are so hurt they are attempting to hurt, or misinform, others online. That doesn’t mean that the people reading it aren’t able to grow from your wisdom. There may be thousands of people who read what you write, and you may never know anything about it. Just imagine the time that 15 year old boy sees a troll being sexist get called out, in Love, about how damaging sexism is to both sexes and all genders and taught a more Loving way of looking at existence. Or that 13 year old girl who is dealing with aggressiveness in other girls showing up as catyness, deceitfulness, and bullying. She might see your healthy response to an online bully and now understand that she must use the same wisdom herself in her own life.
Is this that important, can’t I just exist
You can just exist, and in fact I recommend you “Just Be” in every moment, instead of engaging all the time, if you would like. However, if you take this path of least resistance all the time, instead of picking and choosing the right times and places to assert yourself, you will end up in a world where the loudest wins, not a world of Love. A place where our most robust, immersive and free way of communicating is riddled with our refuse instead of our Gold. A place where our fears and illnesses are expressed, but never addressed, to the point of being social masturbation in the guise of self expression. Put another way, the internet will no longer be our Home as Home is where the heart is.
So take a day every once in a while, stroll through our Internet, and look around. Find where there needs to be some Love planted and place the seeds, we all Love flowers and it’s in the compost, turned over, where they grow the best.