posted on Nov, 5 2016 @ 05:34 AM
We humans are very judgemental creatures. Despite our attempts to limit the number of unwarranted judgements we make, the automatic process of
commenting on another person's views or behaviour is too strong to suppress completely. Of course, judgements are not always unwarranted and they can
in fact be rather beneficial for us at times. They can warn us of impending danger and aid us to prevent wasting our time and energy. They can also
serve well to keep pride and vanity in check.
Nevertheless, I am speaking more of unwarranted, unfair and unreasonable judgements. One of the biggest mistakes many of us on the internet make is
utilising these types of judgements when we lose control of our emotions. Whether it's the member who has turned into a brick wall and will not even
contemplate your ideas; or the member who has just contradicted what you thought were iron-clad arguments; or the member whose ideological outlook and
political views anger you; the tendency to judge them, usually harshly and unfairly, becomes strong.
I myself struggle with the process of creating excessive judgements — internally as well as externally. I don't always express my judgements with
words, but inside my mind they appear rapidly and frequently, and I have to work hard to keep them in check. The common saying "don't judge another
person before you have walked a mile in their shoes" is a useful coping mechanism. Even so, we may not have to employ such advice if we entertain one
significant question: what separates our true self from our online persona?
For most members many things, but for a select few, I presume very little. After all, what is a username? A handle? An avatar? What lies behind these
things? An armchair psychologist? A social justice warrior? A lonely, disenfranchised troll who feels good about annoying and upsetting others? You
think you know a person because you read their posts on an internet forum? You think you have a caught a glimpse into their personality by analysing
paragraphs they have typed on a screen? Maybe you have, maybe you haven't.
I have witnessed on a few occasions examples of other members getting the wrong idea about myself and/or my motives. It can be frustrating to think
somebody can, what feels like to me, grossly misinterpret the type of person I am and the views I hold. However, that is the nature of the internet
and more importantly, I am at least partially responsible.
I choose to keep a separation between my endeavours on websites such as ATS and my everyday real life interactions. I prefer to keep them distinct,
not only for privacy and safety reasons, but also because I enjoy the separation of myself in this way — even if it is superficial.