Forum Culture

By April 1, 2018Musings

*If it’s not worth doing in excess, it’s not worth doing at all.*

By that, I don’t mean that I party excessively. Rather, I am focused wholly on my sense of purpose. I always have my eye on “what the point of it” is, and have little interest in doing “random” things – for distraction, thrill or any other reason; if it’s not part of my larger purpose. Time is the most valuable resource we have, and anything that isn’t moving me toward that sense of purpose puts me off on a visceral level. I don’t gravitate toward “hanging out with friends” if we’re not making some kind of progress, even if that progress is immaterial, such as inspiration, digging into one another for spiritual growth, or challenging each other’s views productively. The people I have spent most time with have always been ‘art buddies.’

For the past several years, I have been drawn to typology forums – Enneagram, Jung, etc – for several reasons. Posting has helped my writing tremendously, and the subject matter, about human psychology, has helped my characters as well as my personal growth. The first few years, I made great progress, some absolutely tangible, some psychological. At this point, I’ve quit most forums, as I have grown as much as I could there and my focus has been redirected toward my purpose.

Then, yesterday, the ugly side of internet culture punched me in the chest. In one of those groups, a video was posted of a physical artist jumping off rooftops etc, with tremendous ease and mastery. He had clearly dedicated his life to this practice. Most people in a group – supposedly aimed toward spiritual growth – condemned him for “wasting his life,” inspiring kids to die, and throwing away God’s gift of life. They called him an adrenaline junky, an addict, psychotic, mentally ill, stupid, crazy, and more. Some even tried to prove his videos were green screened, even though their verity was easily researchable, and his mastery was obvious from watching it.

There are so many problems here.. I don’t know where to begin..
1) People typing on a computer to a screen full of strangers and daring to say someone else is wasting precious life.
2) A forum geared toward psychology where people attribute mental illness to a person who is effectively living their dreams. (There is no shame in mental illness, but this accusation builds false stigma around it, dilutes its meaning and more.)
3) The conflation of “Adrenaline junky” with “Masterful artist doing something with purpose.” (An adrenaline junky is a regular college student getting drunk and picking fights. Or even an intellectual wanker picking fights on the internet to let off some steam. Someone pursuing mastery and meeting his own goals is not a junky.)
4) People who get into a car every day criticizing someone else for doing something dangerous, when the statistical likelihood of dying in a car accident is higher than that of a stuntman dying from performing the art he has trained in.
5) People on a psychology forum believing it is their right to condemn someone else for how they live their life, when the person is not hurting anyone but, on the contrary, is inspiring others as well as himself. 
6) The cultural acceptance of jabbering on the internet at the expense of doing something in the real world, now translating to a CONDEMNATION of people actually walking on their feet and talking to real faces…

I could go on.

This got under my skin for so many reasons. Life was nearly snatched away from me at 16. On my death bed, I accepted that I might die, but I didn’t want to; I still had songs to sing. I still had something meaningful to do, which made life worth fighting for.

I emerged with my voice destroyed, through no fault of my own, and I took tremendous risks and challenged myself ruthlessly in order to rediscover my sense of purpose. Later, I moved to a dangerous city, fought to get by on very little, and sang lead through my whisper, despite my chronic illness. Had I died on the street then, at least my life would have been meaningful. This lesson was hard-learned on my death bed.

If you live your life cowering behind a screen, barely getting by, wagging your finger at anyone who dares step outside your enforced routine…. you are not living; you are undead. That is your choice, and I won’t condemn you, but I will call it what it is – it is zombiehood.

I cannot be part of it. I worked too hard to resurrect the ghost of my voice, to reignite the blood in my veins; to pour blood, sweat and tears into something meaningful. It is impossible, at this point, for me to be bitten by vampires and zombies, as I have already risen from the fucking dead and this is my second coming. I know why I’m here, where I’m going, and why I wake up in the morning. I examine myself to weed out the pointless bullshit standing in my way, and commit myself to dancing with the angels & demons within me. I am not perfect, but I have blood in my veins, flesh on my face and fire in my heart.

What about you? Have you examined your daily routines, your assumptions, your blinders? What is the point of it all, to you? 
Is your SOUL worth fighting for?

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Author Erii

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