| Monday, August 11, 2008 - 08:25 pm |
An interesting discussion
"... when my name was still Laguna, Louise, Jo and other members of the forum were... trying to discover the person behind my posts. They didn't get it all that right. :p "
Not quite Laguna, not for me anyway. This is the internet. We can never discover 'the person behind the posts'. The forum allows us each to weigh up, consider what we say and project ourselves in the way we want to be seen (not that we all take that option). It therefore follows that the person behind the posts is irrelevant. What matters is the person that comes through on the posts. The nature of the forum allows us to re-invent our virtual selves if we so wish.
Case in point: There used to be this person called Laguna Loire. S/he liked jumping people from behind and knocking them into baths of melted belgian chocolate, much to chagrin of one Ambiorix, who claimed all the chocolate in Belgium for himself.
Did I think that there was no more to Laguna than sticky practical jokes? Of course not, but the rest wasn't important. It didn't matter what country s/he came from, which social class or how old s/he was. Where s/he got his/her education was irrelevant, the important thing was that s/he was educated enough to post interesting points.
I soon found out the gender and nationality he wanted to project, but I knew nothing more about him, other than it was fun to get covered in virtual chocolate and it gave me some good mental exercise trying to verbally outwit him.
Laguna reinvented himself. Still male, and this time with a male name, and still interesting to talk to, but takes himself more seriously and no more sticky fun. The person behind the posts is still the same person, but the personalities projected on the forum are very different. I don't know the person, I just know the personalities. Laguna has gone. John R is here. I treat John R differently, because he has a different virtual personality.
The problem is that it is very difficult to take only what you see and not judge what is beyond it. Compartmentalising people, and groups of people, makes it easier to deal with them and requires less thought. It also leads down the rocky road of 'judgement'.
FarmerBob is right, as always. If we all put in the little extra work it takes to see each other as individuals and not fill-in the missing bits with judgements, we wouldn't have so many 'isms' and maybe less conflict ...
Hugs and respect