Jackie Chan said:
It's hard isn't it?...sometimes when I'm on something like an internet forum I think that I'm just typing into a computer and that it's just me and the computer.
But there are real people on the other side, like you and Bernabby and everyone else here....people from Texax, climate deniers, eco warrriors, capitalist, all sorts who are all perfectly entitled to their beliefs and opinions ....and we're all full of contradictions and willful ignorance....so sorry if I become all yappy , it's probably me dealing with my own sh*t at times and taking it out on the world....
I don't think you have anything to apologise for, Dave. As far as I've seen, you treat others with respect, even in disagreement.
I can't speak for others, but I have always been aware of the realness of those who I have interacted with online, and I have met some very interesting people with a lot of very interesting ideas and opinions over the years and in a variety of "virtual" contexts. Perhaps one of the more ironic of these involved a woman from Florida I met in an early form of video conferencing back in 2001. This woman had views that, in a great many respects, were very similar to Bernabby's (which, incidentally, are far from the most uninformed I have encountered online). The thing is that, although this woman and I disagreed vehemently about a huge number of issues, and discussed and argued these with quite some passion on both sides, we actually got on quite well as human beings.... as friends.
The real twist in this story came about late one night (my time) when she was repeating that she had no need to question the "news" she heard on Fox, or any Republican politician, because she knew she could trust them implicitly, and I was suggesting that there were dangers in such a degree of unquestioning belief in ANY particular political or religious ideology, because it could far too easily lead to fanaticism and extremism. And it was in that moment that she happened to catch the breaking news on the TV behind her that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre.
The rest of the night (it was night for me) was spent attempting to comfort this woman while watching the news unfold on our own TV. The irony of our earlier conversation never occurred to her, of course, and I wasn't about to bring it up.
Yes, there are a great many people in this world who understand little beyond the beliefs and preconceptions with which they were raised and with which they have been indoctrinated by their respective societies ever since. It has always been thus. We don't need to get online to see this; we only need to consider examples amongst our friends and families or local communities. More to the point, we only need to begin to examine and consider our own
intransigences, our own preconceptions, our own dogmatic and non-negotiable positions in order to gain a slightly more empathic perspective.
So yeah... as you say... we're all (or most of us) real people online. And we are all full of contradictions and wilful ignorance in our own ways.