Go with a smile!

Monday, June 02, 2014


Maybe a month and a half ago, I joined quora. It felt great at first, and I did have a lot to write about. I actually managed 100 posts in that time. But then I had to stop. I was turning into a troll.

I found myself getting excited when a post I wrote was voted up, but sometimes I would put a lot of effort into another post and I would not get that many votes. I found that when I wrote posts that conformed to “web 2.0 values” – follow your passion, let your spirit triumph over adversity, stick it to the man – it got voted up more. But when I wrote posts that were more emotionally complex, that held more ambiguous truths, those were routinely ignored. Those that did not sound 100% humble were not voted up. Like somebody would not vote something up if they only agreed 50% of what you said.

At the same time, I realised that a little bit of what I was doing was to write things that a little controversial to get a reaction from people. Then I realized that I was veering towards controversial topics like Israel and the South China Sea to get a reaction from people. That’s the thing – people are more immediately drawn to places where the politics are controversial. Nobody ever talks about the boring stuff that happens in 95% of everywhere else. People only want to seek the things where battle lines are drawn. Somebody once compared a democratic elections to this elaborate ritual where people from two or more tribes would get their tribal gear out and do a crazy war dance with each other – like some ancient backwards African village. You just can’t change the fundamentals of human nature. People are always going to conform to some little pattern.

Anyway, I was looking back at some of the things I said. I was proud of a lot of what I had written and it did represent my state of mind at that time. But there were a few nasty things and people did call me out on that. And I realize that maybe it was a reflection that locking myself up in a room and typing all this stuff out was not 100% healthy for my psyche. Yes, I love ideas and yes I love interacting with ideas more than I love interacting with people. This is not abnormal. This is me being me.

And more importantly, I probably understood that I did not really want to be typing out a lot of controversial stuff under my own name. I didn’t want people to be wondering “what other crazy stuff is going on in that mind of his that he’s not saying? Is he just being polite and not saying the more warped stuff to me?” So this weekend, I saved all my writings and deleted all my posts off Quora.

And thank god. I don’t ever want to have all that stuff coming back and haunting me.

I have never fully wanted my words to be written under anything other than a pen name. I’m a person who has a few faces, a few personas. If I see two sides of the story – then it couldn’t be otherwise. Sometimes I have to cross tribal lines. I don’t want to – just because I paint myself to be a certain person in public – to have to restrict myself from saying something that contradicts that persona. If, like Walt Whitman, I am vast and contain multitudes, somebody could easily say that I’m a traitor. I don’t want to have to waste too much time dealing with fools like that.


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