Am I in the Wrong Movie?
[… and some thoughts about internet trolls]
Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil
“If we consider carefully the options put before us / So much wisdom so much love so much waiting for us / And if we look ahead there's the sun and the seasons / Another day another age of reason” – from John Farnham’s “Age of Reasons”
For this impressive song, click here
By the end of a year, I tend to turn somewhat sentimental.
Another twelve months went by, offering many opportunities; I realize that perhaps only a handful came to realization. Yes, we are told never to look at what one doesn’t have, but to cherish that what you have in your hands, so I want to make use of this opportunity to thank all those wonderful and hardworking volunteers who have been loyal to Theosophy Forward, making this unique publication possible. Thanks to all, spread out over the planet: The United States (California, Kentucky, and Wheaton-Illinois), Brazil, Costa Rica, Slovenia, Italy, Portugal (Madeira Island), Spain, France, Holland, and India.
When I started off way back in 2009 with this e-magazine, I had no idea where the story would take me. We are five years on the road now and soon the sixth year will commence and there are great plans, quite sensational I must say, but at this stage I cannot reveal more than just that it will be another Theosophical leap forward!
Yet, there is always something to wish for, something that needs to be straightened out, something that needs to be shared, so that doubts no longer exist. My editorials have been rather personal, I know, putting forward my opinions, ideas, certain – and uncertainties. I believe that editorials may be written in that manner, giving the reader something to ponder on, to think about, to agree or disagree with. Reactions overall were overwhelming and supportive, with one or two exceptions — ah well, you can’t win them all. I could say even that a few, whom I still regard highly, turned right out nasty with me, calling me names, even threatening me, but I guess that all comes with the job.
Not knowing, having a high opinion of oneself, being stubborn, silly, and badly informed often contribute to misunderstandings, misconceptions, and confusion. Often it surprises me that some insist on having an outspoken opinion about everything at all costs, looking as if there is no room for uncertainty. Mr or Mrs “Know it all” make their entrance, throwing words around, sounding like hastily renovated oracles, pointing fingers at people who do their best to reveal the truth, dismantling lies and painful occurrences. There is no observation, no impartiality, and above all no silence, only an avalanche of words and more words; quite a cacophony; it is arrogance, ignorance combined with stupidity. When I am confronted with this, I feel as if I am in the wrong movie. This shouldn’t take place in a Theosophical environment since it causes great damage to our cause and if we were willing to look openly at the issues before us, we could have simply done much better and reason instead.
They say we must honor our opponent, not to ridicule someone with an opposite thought or opinion, but to look at the other as someone you can learn from; after all, we’re each other’s teachers, aren’t we? Well, with most of the “adversaries” I have no problem at all, can take a few punches. Although being opposed ain’t the easiest exercise one can end up in, I do honor and respect those who take the trouble to counteract in writing or through dialogue; it is a learning process.
Having said that and with sincere apologies for repeating myself, I must admit that it really puts me off when I see that day in and day out, unsuspecting website visitors are confronted with the chimeras of an obscure grapevine moderator, MKR, whose only objective is to downgrade and insult anyone or anything related to the TSA administration or the current Adyar administration. It is a fact that the more he exposes himself the more people will see who he is: a pathetic pain the neck.
In cyberspace it is simple these days to remain fairly anonymous, and work from behind a keyboard in some darkish basement of one’s house, constantly annoying others on the internet, often using pen names, never publishing a recent photo or detailed background information through a curriculum, carefully hiding the full identity, thus acting typically cowardice. Together with a brother-in-arms called Dave Marsland who has his own disputes with the TS in the UK and the headquarters in Adyar, and therefore not an impartial source, operating from Wales and whose Cardiff lodge is not connected with Adyar, M. K. Ramadoss seems to be fully engaged in nagging people. The only thing you could possibly learn from these two individuals is how one shouldn’t do things. There is a never-ending supply of bad news, half-truths or plain lies. It is disturbing to notice that some still seem to pass on flawed information to their sites, misusing revered democratic privileges such as freedom of speech or thought and transparency, most of the time not even to set “records straight” or serve the truth, but to settle personal grievances they have with third parties. Most, if not all of the info passed on to them is biased or false; often there is not a shred of evidence. After republishing an earlier editorial on this subject a friend of mine from Holland, Katinka Hesselink, well known in Theosophical circles and a respected spiritual blogger herself, very significantly commented on Facebook: “Theos talk still exists? I guess it's time to put it out of its misery then.”
We need to learn that those internet trolls (*) won’t go away, no matter what we write or try; they will always be there, shutting them up or reason with them is utterly impossible. Labelling themselves as grand inquisitors they can only prosper making use of apparent confusion, mistakes others make, and by taking the written or spoken word hopelessly out of context and their bottom line, if there is any, is always negative. Folks could take more time to investigate the mere facts, because doing so would certainly help to broaden understanding. According to what I call the Goebbels doctrine, we know that if you just keep on repeating a lie, that lie seemingly becomes a true fact, and people start to believe that it is true. The Society we all care for so much has gone through ups and downs; there were good times and bad times. We cannot set the clock backwards, what is done is done, but the truth, I mean the TRUTH is never subject to time, space, or matter, to speak Theosophically, and I am just going for that TRUTH. We never need to judge or to condemn; all we need is to search for what is considered to be transparent, open, and objective. At the same time, we cannot be totally without insight or understanding, in order for us to “clean house.” In my native Holland where the Dutch are known for their almost rigid yearning for justice, openness and truth there is a saying which, when translated into English, comes down to: “Lies travel at high speed, but the truth always catches up with them.”
Our world is in conflict, 2014 was a very difficult and tumultuous year. All over our planet, women, children and men were oppressed, in the name of religion horrendous crimes were committed, and the rich west at first neglected to find a cure for a terrible disease because it looked as if it only appeared in poor African countries. In one of the mightiest countries in the world we saw that the racial problem is far from solved, while we are also very much engaged in destroying our environment. Planet Earth is in deep trouble. Actually, using the analogy of this editorial, 2014 might have been one of the worst movies I have ever seen; what a display of horror! The ideals of living in a peaceful and prosperous world have vanished, and the conflicts have come to our own doorsteps, straight into our living-room, involving and influencing the Theosophical Movement as well. Yet, when one is willing to open up, to listen, to be courageous and modest we discover that being with what used to be an opponent, turns into being with a friend. We saw this happen during the annual ITC meeting in Naarden the Netherlands last August. There is most definitely a way out. First of all in our Society, but when expanded this process can also be applied to the world we live in.
All conflicts and their apparent root-causes in fact are distractions from the search for truth; therefore, seekers for truth should never be separated through circumstantial “confusion,” but they should continue to look for constant resonance and never-ending union. I realize that this might not be all that simple, but to practice brotherhood is a piece of cake when all goes well, when the weather is fine and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. To come together in times of trouble, when there are allegations, when old ties are being torn apart and politics are involved is quite a different story. Stepping out of the “I am right” and “you are wrong” mode does require courage, insight and humbleness, but it is precisely then, going through dark, deep and stormy waters, when brotherhood really matters.
When my hero Nelson Mandela, after 27 years of imprisonment was finally released and was to become the president of South-Africa, the world knew that he and his movement had been terribly wronged by the white apartheid regime. In spite of those 27 years of injustice and in spite of the fact that obviously Mandela was right, the father or the Rainbow Nation understood very well that only through reason, mediation and reconciliation all South Africans could come together again and oversaw the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). When this specific path is followed, being right or wrong don’t matter any longer, because all will be right and wrong at the same time. The healing road to unity can be long and winding and not always without flaws, but it is an exercise of bringing brotherhood in practice and in particular Theosophists should know how to go about it.
Tim Boyd at work in Adyar
Always keen not to end up in the wrong movie, hoping that we have entered another age of reason at last, I can only share my dream, my wishes, and my desire with my readers, sentimental or not, at the end of yet another year. So for 2015, I wish for unity and understanding, for love and tolerance, for honesty and the willingness to sacrifice, for humbleness and insight.
But most of all I wish that all of us rally behind the international president of the TS-Adyar, Tim Boyd.
Question: What Is an Internet Troll? How Should I Deal With Trolls?
Answer: An internet troll is an abusive or obnoxious user who uses shock value to promote arguments and disharmony in online communities.
Named after the wicked troll creatures of children's tales, an internet troll is someone who stirs up drama and abuses their relative “online” anonymity by purposely sowing hatred, or just simple bickering between others. Trolls like a big audience, so they frequent blog sites, and discussion forums. Trolls thrive in any environment where they are allowed to make public comments. They often want to set an online community on fire with hate and discord.
Typical Internet Troll
The Sad Truths of Internet Trolls:
Trolls are immune to criticism and logical arguments. True trolls cannot be reasoned with, regardless of how sound your logical argument is.
Trolls do not feel remorse like you and me. They have sociopathic tendencies, and accordingly, they delight in other people having hurt feelings.
Trolls consider themselves separate from the social order.
Trolls do not abide by etiquette or the rules of common courtesy.
Trolls consider themselves above social responsibility.
Trolls gain energy by you insulting them.
Trolls gain energy when you get angry.
The only way to deal with a troll is to ignore him, or take away his ability to post online.
How Should I Deal With Internet Trolls?
The rule of thumb is that you need accept that you cannot win or deal with a troll, so do not feed them!
Publicly retaliating against them just fuels their childish need for attention. Consider to completely ignoring the persons’ postings. Don’t be curious, remove the link from your favorites bar, it looks very ugly anyway and the song the trolls sing will always be out of tune. If you are member of their community cancel your membership. While it is difficult for most users to let a troll have the last word, this tactic successfully takes the wind out of a casual troll's sails. This tactic will remove their audience, their power and it deprives them of the attention they seek.
Start 2015 with a splendid action and give it a try; let’s put those sites and the trolls out of their misery!
Over the past year Theosophy Forward has done what it had to do: pointing to this sick phenomenon. However, everything has a beginning and an end. The editor has decided, in order to refrain from " feeding" the trolls further, to remove the four articles dealing with this particular topic from Theosophy Forward's website and Facebook page on January 01, 2015. Theosophy deserves only the very best, so let's do away with those dispicable pollutors.
Manjeri K. Ramadoss has actually and singlehandedly "murdered" Theos talk. He is its moderator (owner), but ended up being almost its sole contributor. Step by step he quietly and without any explanation removed regular contributors who were not in agreement with him and turned this at one point in time dynamic discussion site into his private "bla-bla" box. That makes him an extra sinister internet troll.