Walking briskly along the track after work I pondered the incongruity of online personas.
At the simplest level there are the super-hero cartoon avatars on Second Life that may represent the real life homely cake-loving knitter. (Not that there’s anything wrong with cake or knitting!) There are the more complex, fluent, grammatically-correct and over-wordy bloggers who write online like there’s no tomorrow.
Then there is Eckhart Tolle! He has my mind ticking over on so many levels. The content of his books shove my consciousness sideways as I consider his theories. But then there is the man! Seeing him on YouTube speaking to an audience while wearing a gold vest stunned me. In A New Earth he tells us that the path to enlightenment requires us to recognise our ego as being separate to our Self. So the vest seems at odds with his message.
The shadows from the Banksia trees grew darker as I followed the path. I wondered how to shape my words to find some clarity. Don’t mistake the message from the messenger, is wise advice to recall, and this applies to online personas as well. To criticise and be judgemental is not my intention. Finding integrity in both the message and the messenger is what I listen for.
The beauty of Web 2.0 is that it builds bridges across the chasms created by geography, distance, age, gender, race, education and lifestyle. We can connect with like-minded others in a positive way; reading, appreciating, connecting and affirming others lives; and this enriches us all.
Just be aware that even if people are honest online and aren’t hiding behind a fictional character, a wall of well-placed words, or a super-hero vest, we still can’t really know the real person behind the online persona. In the words of Mr. Tolle himself, “All we can perceive, experience, think about, is the surface layer of reality, less than the tip of an iceberg.” And even less so online.
U2 3D at the cinema was fantastic. I swear drops of sweat from Bono fell on me as I reached out to touch his hand. Powerful message, powerfully delivered by cool messengers!!