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In The End, These Are All Just Words On A Screen. What Really Matters Is YOU

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posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 08:48 PM
A few days ago I logged into ATS to find posts from a member who did not post much. Posts directed squarely at me. Posts that said, in no unclear way, that I was everything wrong with this world and openly advocating for my death or murder. While I would love to say that this was an isolated incident, sadly I cannot. In my twenty-five-ish years of being on the Internet this exact sort of scenario has played out at least a couple of dozen times. And, as always, I responded in the only rational way I could.

I ignored it.

Given that this is ATS and we do have a moderated community, my choice of approach worked out well. Other members saw the posts, alerted them for being out of bounds and other staff members made the choice to remove the posts.

But that experience is not why I am posting now. Not at all. I only mention it as it speaks to the point I am about to make. It is an example of something I wish to not only table for discussion - but maybe remind myself of as well.

Everything here is just words on a screen. When compared to almost everything else in life - they are essentially meaningless.

The Internet is an amazing tool that has quite fundamentally changed the way we live, learn and recreate. Being a guy who is getting a bit older, I can vividly remember the days before the Internet existed. Back in the ancient times when our music came on wax discs and curiosity based questions either led us to the public library or to digging through our home Encyclopedia's, hoping that whatever information we might find was still applicable. Most often it was not. We lived in a world where everything was slower and almost all information was outdated to one degree or another... often woefully so.

It was also a time when we learned social skills in a different way. We learned them entirely face to face and in person. A world where giving into our more mischievous and trollish urges usually resulted in having to physically defend that choice.

So much has changed now.

Now we can sit in the comfort and safety of our own homes, protected from the outside world not only by laws, but by locks and physical barriers. Further we can blanket ourselves in full anonymity, making it impossible for almost anyone to even know what nation we live in, much less what neighborhood or which house. And we enter into the greater world, via cyberspace, stripped of all of the things that sometimes help us develop a notion of personal accountability.

This leaves us with a mixed bag of blessings. Some of us choose to exercise the same restraint online as we would in the real world. Others? Not so much. Or not at all. The price we pay for this amazing pipeline into real time information and interaction is that we open ourselves up to the utter whims of others. Some wonderful people, others petty and childish. We come into this realm fully aware that we might, indeed, have to endure a brutal hazing of unspeakable horrors at any given moment.

I think most of us end up apathetic, at best, about this issue. We are powerless to effect any sort of change or to actively stop the abuse, so we simply become numb to it.

Thankfully the good people seem to outweigh the bad and it's more common to find hope here than not. No matter how ugly, petty or vicious the hateful people become, there always seems to be those people who show us why being here is worth every bit of the trouble.

Today I lost a friend. He is gone. He is dead. There is no way for me to tell him that, for me, HE was one of the diamonds in this rough... That HE was one of the people who made me not care if a few others spake such hateful noise. Other than the support and friendship that I offered him over the years, I can give him nothing more - no matter how badly I want to or wish I could.

But, being who he was, he managed to give me one last gift... The reason I am posting this now.

Folks, love me, hate me, don't care either way. Any variation of all or the above. That's fine. I am good with that. But I want you all to know something very basic and very sincere. There is not a single person reading these words who I do not care about. Every single one of you matters to me. Even if you and I argue endlessly in thread after thread, please know this. Should you ever need a friend, somebody to vent to, a shoulder to cry on, or just a person to tell you that they get it. PM me. I do not care who you are, if you feel alone or like things cannot get any better. PM me. I am here. If you dislike me to the point where that doesn't help? PM somebody. Hell, ask me to refer you to a person with views closer to your own. God knows I've probably gone round and round with them as well. I can and will make every effort to either talk to you or find a person who will.

All of the things we argue about here? None of them matter as much as you. Please remember that.

God Bless you Billy. Rest in peace brother.

posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 08:59 PM
This is the second post I have recently come across expressing genuine care for members, even those of us that may have never interacted with the op on here. And it warms my heart and makes me smile. Thank you Heff

So sorry for your loss

edit on 13-9-2015 by chelsdh because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 09:05 PM
the thing is for a lot of people, mostly younger they are more than words on a screen. it is sad really.
facebook and instagram and twitter have become a major part of their daily lives.
teens kill themselves over things said to them over facebook.

people interact with other people electronically these days.

the internet is great but it is terrible at the same time.

posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 09:07 PM
Powerful as always Heff.

What you have just described is what a "community" should be all about. Open to one another, no matter the differences. Community. Support. Agree to disagree on some points of view, but beneath it all, value one another as sentient beings who matter.

When the difficult ones in the world get to me, I try to think of them as they may have been as a baby or child. Sweet, funny, silly, full of smiles and hugs and adventure. Doesn't always work, I'm no saint. But I try.

I had a particular person at one of my old jobs who was really nasty and sort of a manipulative jerk. He got in my head and I spent a lot of energy being angry or upset inside about how he was toward me and others. Then I tried to think of him as my child or parent or sibling or husband in another life. What if he was my daughter? What if he were the last person I was going to see before I died, or vice versa. Would any of his egotistical work crap even matter?

It helped me to process and move on, and not leave any more energy with the thought of him in an angry, hurt way.

Thanks Heff for being so bold to say what you feel.

posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 09:18 PM
I know how you feel Heff. Due to RA's passing, oh how I loved getting into threads with him, and reading and sharing, and he is a person that I will always remember, I signed into ATS for the first time in a very long time. Though whatever it is (there is no need for me to reminisce) that has caused me to initially stop coming here, I did forget that we have formed bonds here, and the bickering, misunderstandings, and yes, sometimes hurtful things that can happen, there are also many wonderful things, including support and genuine love that can come from a place with so many minds.

We are always going to bump into a few people that have their own agendas, and hate, but it does not outweigh those of us that care, and it NEVER will. I am hoping to come back to ATS, and share as I once did. There are many that I genuinely miss, including you.

Peace, NRE.

posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 09:19 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

We are all very sorry for your loss, Heff. Loss can remind us all to appreciate what we have...while we have it.
You're appreciated.

posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 09:24 PM
Posts like this, and people like you, that is one of the things that has kept me here so long, people genuinely care, and I've met and also lost some wonderful people here. However brief or long our interactions, everybody leaves a mark. I've offered my support and have been offered support by other members, and I don't forget those little acts of kindness.
So thank you Heff and I too would like to offer myself up for anybody who needs a friend or a vent or just a chat, don't ever feel alone here, because you're not! kindness doesn't cost a thing!

posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 09:45 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

I post this with a heart full of sincerity, Heff. Thank you for always being you.

posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 09:46 PM
a reply to: Hefficide
Well said, Heff. Well said.

I can't imagine why that member posted that stuff about you. From what I've seen of your posts and threads you've always been decent and civil, even when you didn't agree with someone's opinion. You did the right thing by ignoring it-no feeding trolls and all.

posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 10:02 PM
a reply to: Hefficide


YOU Heff mean a lot to many people on this board. Just wanted YOU to know that....
edit on 13-9-2015 by CIAGypsy because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 10:15 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

Amen - A beautiful tribute to your friend.

posted on Sep, 13 2015 @ 11:21 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

Tragedy certainly puts things into focus, I'm sorry.

Would you still have offered yourself to us without bearing it's load? I ask because death serves a purpose that few are aware of. It makes fools of us all, but creates life out of it's very existence. Just listening and saying a few words is all that it takes sometimes.

I also find it ironic, your service medium of choice are nothing more than,

words on a screen

And by that very admission, they are not meaningless.

edit on 13-9-2015 by eisegesis because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 14 2015 @ 12:08 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

Thank you for the wonderful post. You are an amazing person and anyone who knows you is blessed to have you in their lives and anyone who you meet in the future is blessed to meet you.

Other than the support and friendship that I offered him over the years, I can give him nothing more - no matter how badly I want to or wish I could.

Ah but you can give him more and you are already doing so, you've even been doing this very thing when he was still alive. Powerful enough people, even still alive, can sway others and can change their lives, usually to live by their ideals. Even though he is gone, he is still alive in you, your personality. He changed your life and though he seems gone, he isn't. He's living his good deeds through you by having rubbed off on your personality. So by never changing the way you are, he will always remain with you.

Plus, it is my belief that the dead in spirit, can still tap into us and understand everything, they can hear us, see us. So it never hurts to give the dead a thought or a word every once in a while to let them know they are missed, and never forgotten by the ones who lived along side them at one time.

posted on Sep, 14 2015 @ 04:35 AM
Sorry about your friend, Heff. I send my heartfelt condolences.

This subject is one close to my heart though, and I had a short but interesting discussion on it with my oldest son.

He's just gotten into cyber communities, being part of forums on a regular basis, identifying with certain "clubs" as it were, that sometimes form in this medium of communication. I've been doing it for almost twenty years, in contrast to his new experiences.

He is getting into what feels like intimate relationships with some people, and also some "violent" conflicts as well, that are taking bigger and bigger proportions in his mind. I watch this affectionately, remembering my own pathway. I once cried for days when my "new best friend" and I got into a fight, on the site we'd created together for our group that met on a forum. I laugh now, but I felt heartbroken at the time.

After a while I began to see that this medium has the potential for transference, and works something like Freudian psychotherapy - without seeing the face and body of the other, or even hearing the tone of voice, we are left without the micro- cues to their state of being and emotion, their deeper motivations and thoughts..... so we attach our own.

We make people out to be the various parts of ourselves we want to face and grapple with- the archetypes come alive! Our dragons emerge for us to battle, with names such as "gigo5467", or "pinkladyCat".
Our mother or father step forward, to tell us all they REALLY thought, and never said outright before.
Our lost friends appear, just with a different name, our dream lovers hide behind words on a screen...

Very early on, I discussed with my stepfather the concept that this might be a very effective form of therapy! He was dubious (but of course he was- this would threaten his career).
It became clear to me that the only way it could become really therapeutic is with the conscious awareness that that is the intent. While caught up in the whirlwind dramas, we forget, but if we can even remind ourselves afterwards, "oh yeah, that was all me- I remember now". it could hold great potential.

I found it can and does. But like any tool, it is all in how you use it.
With this intent in mind (personal evolution), I find that if a certain poster or post doesn't call to me anymore and provoke any response, it is because I have dealt with it; I have digested that. But perhaps they haven't, they are working on something.
No worry, they'll find a playmate- someone who needs to work on those roles and emotions will be around shortly, and the play shall go on!

I told my son some of the communities he can find me on. I know that for my husband, my online persona was a source of much curiosity and he has checked in to discover it in various places without telling me. My son scoffed at this activity before, but now he is questioning and curious.
I told him my handle and he was surprised- "but you've been using the same for years then!" (he'd seen me referred to as Bluesma fifteen years ago).
I explained that, I see that as a way of keeping my integrity. My history can be followed, with all the things I have said and done, good and bad. I cannot escape responsibility for them- I cannot deny the changes I have been through, nor the mistakes I learned from.
I posed it to him as, "your reputation in the cyber world is just as important as in real life, if not more so." In this media, the exact words you used are still available, so they can't be twisted intentionally or otherwise by others.

More importantly than what others can know about you, is what you must face about yourself. It is a matter of staying conscious of your pathway, of where it has been, and how it has evolved.

I guess I am curious to see if his adventures in cyberland will be as constructive and beneficial as mine have been.
Like waving him with a tear in my eye, as he sets off in a ship to battle his dragons....

posted on Sep, 14 2015 @ 08:27 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

Bless you keep on keeping on. Your presence on ATS brings much hope. Your integrity and honesty I have always admired.

posted on Sep, 14 2015 @ 08:45 AM
Heff you are one of the posters here that make me stop and read every word you post. I am always taken back by what you write on here and honestly think you are one of the greats on ATS. You earned loads of respect from me years ago.

In this day and age, people muster courage behind a screen to fight and yell about things that they disagree with. In person, or without that screen to protect them, the same people are cowardice and timid only getting angry when they don't get their way. It seems more prevalent in youth because for folks like yourself and I, we had experiences without the internet as a safety blanket.

I am always sad to hear that people abuse their right to communicate freely on forums, or internet (Reddit is huge for this) all because their anonymity makes it possible. It is people like that who will ruin the anonymity for the rest of us...mark my words.

I too, am at a great loss today as are a lot of us.

The sadness will fade, and we will smile again.

edit on 14-9-2015 by havok because: grammer...

posted on Sep, 14 2015 @ 12:59 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

I can't even imagine anyone starting a thread to speak negatively about you specifically.

You are one of the most kind and respectful posters on the site in my opinion. In fact, I can't recall any posts I've read where you have been anything but respectful.

This was a great post and I'm glad I stumbled upon it today.

I'm truly sorry for your loss.

Big hug for you.

posted on Sep, 14 2015 @ 01:58 PM
One of the things that the Internet has given us is the power to meet some extraordinary people that we wouldn't have met otherwise.

One of the last times I was here, was when RA had made a short comeback, this time is because I heard of the terrible news. As you said, sometimes we argue, disagree or even temporarily hate each other over some stupid thing one or another has done or said but in the end, truth is, we've met, we've discussed, we've shared something at least. This wouldn't have been possible when I was young. The Net has permitted us to meet some very awesome people. RA was definitely one of them.

Sad to hear that you got so much hate directed at you, I've always seen you as one of those rarities we find on the Net, pretty much like RA actually, so this truly comes as a surprise.

That was an excellent tribute, Hefficide.

posted on Sep, 15 2015 @ 03:11 AM
You truly are a blessing Heff...who is not even in disguise!

If we all offered that, how beautiful this rock we live on would be, I truly hope you have what you are offering, a kind heart and soul, offered to yourself too x

posted on Sep, 15 2015 @ 09:14 AM
Actually... no. The "words on the screen" indeed matter more than our corporeal selves; as the former will form what will essentially be the 'consciousness' of the "A.I." we will inevitably have to merge with (likely as a some silicon hybird life form). As distinct from our fleshy selves, which are merely ephemeral vessels serving only to afford us the means by which to convey those aforementioned words in the short time these organisms we're housed in permit us.

What we're doing now, with all our online interactions, is creating a data bank for the this singular consciousness, which we have dub "A.I.", to absorb, learn and develop its own consciousness thereof. The things we do which are not stored or accessible through said data bank, are therefore rendered immaterial, when considered relative to the grand scheme of the universe and the on-going existence of our species' legacy.

Ergo, the irony is, all this drivel we fill the Internet with is in fact all a part of what will define us as a species.

(NB: The easiest way to picture this is by seeing the computers as braincells, the interconnectivity of computers as the neurons, the information we input as the consciousness and the eventual emergence of "A.I." as this mind's autonomy.)

edit on 15-9-2015 by TheInhumanCentipede because: (no reason given)

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