Friday, March 30, 2012

on Multiply

This entry below is addressed to my friends on the online community know as Multiply.  I recently was at the center of a hurtful, now public, controversy there that caused me to withdraw from the group (I can't post this there because of my withdrawal).  If you aren't in that group, this isn't going to make any sense to you.  We will return to our regularly scheduled programming afterwards.
My friends, first and most importantly, I want to apologize and ask forgiveness for my part in what has occurred.  I made mistakes.  I acted unskillfully, and in doing so, I've disappointed many, and hurt a few.  I regret that.  I am sorry, both to the people involved at the very center of this, and to anyone who has been in any measure concerned. 

This is what happens when we are blinded by our ideas about the world, but I'm not going to ascend into a cerebral discussion of the nature of perception and reality as a way to tap-dance around my hurt feelings, not this time anyway (mark your calendars).

When I came to Multiply I regarded it as an exciting laboratory for social networking.  Content was easy to manage, privacy was manageable, and I had a group of people I already knew from Slashdot with me.  I wanted to see what could be done in such an environment, so I was open with my communication about my own internal thought processes and values.

This can only be done in an environment in which one feels safe.  I did feel safe for years and years.  I wrote a lot of things during that period of time.  I'm sure I wrote things with which I now disagree.  It wasn't a manifesto, it was a journal. It was my view and my opinion at the time.

For me, this is not a minor point.  I can't promise what I write will be true, or even wise, but I can promise it will be genuine, that is, it will be what I really think.  This is at the absolute core of my motivations as a human being in relationship with others.  I may be full of shit, but it is the shit I believe.

My mind changes, as everyone's does, as everything does.

So, after I became the object of a vicious, public, scapegoating I deleted the Multiply account to protect my feelings and hasten the close of this episode.  I'm sure there's much in there that could have been used as effective rhetorical weaponry in the narrative currently being promoted about who I really am.

When I make a decision, I am usually managing a dialog between compelling and restraining voices.  Some desires, values, people, ideas, and predictions are on one side, compelling me to do something, another set are on the other side, restraining me from doing something.

When I talk to my friends about a decision they are making, I am sometimes a compelling voice and I am sometimes a restraining voice.  I often assume the quieter of the two voices in the room.  I think it is important to maintain a balanced view going into any decsion, no matter which way it goes, because seeing things around me as I move forward is usually most clear that way.

So, it is possible with me to abstract any number of things I've said or done to promote a particular view of me.  I'm sure I have been a restraining voice many times to many people, but the view currently being promoted of me is unfair and hurtful.  It is a vicious attack on my character designed to alienate me from my friends.  I am not made of stone.  This causes real pain.  It's been interfering with work at a time that I really need to work hard.

However, I am not going to fight back.  If I pick up a metaphorical sword in my right hand to defend my self, I am picking up a lot of actual anguish with the other hand at the same time, and not only my own.  My defense would have to include assertions and declarations that would cause more hurt.  There's been enough hurt.  More will not come from my hand.

Since I won't fight back, they will likely prevail.  My silence is taken as concession.  As I said above, I am not innocent here.  I did make mistakes.  If anyone wants to make the case that my opinons can be wrong, that I can act selfishly, stupidly and irresponsibly, I offer no defense.  That is all true.

If that fails a standard, then I fail that standard.

I knew this was coming.  Scapegoating is easy to predict when you see it for what it is (cf. Leviticus).  I told Jay back in October that the events of March 29th would arrive.  When I felt the tide go out a bit I decided to do the things I needed to do to integrate at Google+.  I invited everyone to come, I am also on Facebook (but only as a point of presence, I don't do much there) and I will be posting to this blog more regularly now.

I didn't foresee the severity of the attacks, or the extent to which my friends would be used as agents.  To bring this all to a close as quickly as possible, I deleted the Multiply account.  That was not a message to those of you I know from there.  It was simple self-interest.  I blew up the ammunition depot because I was overwhelmed by the atacks.  I'm sorry if you had valuables in there.

I know something has ended and it ended in part because of my unskillful stupidity.  Again, I am sorry.  Things always end somehow.

But things also begin, and I invite everyone to stay open to new things.

Be well, and thanks for your interest in me.