thoughts on mindful anonymity…

When I first started thinking about this site I assumed it would be mostly anonymous. Not so that people could hide behind some facade (people including myself), but so that we might speak freely without fear of repercussions by some real-life whack-job. Using pseudonyms has been done throughout the ages.

That being said, I have forced myself for the last ten years to use my real name on YouTube comments (for example). It was a reminder that I needed to be civil in how I spoke to others. I had really gone off on someone ten years ago in some anonymous comments on a blog and had felt badly about it for a long time. I would not have spoken to a friend that way, even one with whom I was having a strong disagreement, and I wanted to not speak to a stranger like that again either. My penance was to strip myself of the perceived safety of any false persona. This also forced some clarity and discipline on my behalf.

Having established better habits, I intend to remain somewhat anonymous here, and recommend perhaps that others do so as well. We’ll get this sorted out as we go, and probably there will never be any need to have worried about it, but when commenting here or initially setting up your account maybe just use your first name only or create an alias.

As a final thought, in his book A World Waiting to Be Born: Civility Rediscovered, M. Scott Peck talks about arriving at a definition of Civility. He came across a quote by Oliver Herford, who once said, “A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.” Peck goes on to say that…

“Civility might have much more to do with conscious intention — awareness — than with not hurting feelings. In fact, on occasion, it might actually be civil to hurt someone’s feelings as long as you know what you’re doing. [It is] a far more complex matter than superficial politeness.”

So that is the ethos that I hope will pervade, permeate, suffuse, and imbue this forum. That we may strive to never hurt another’s feelings simply out of mean-spiritedness, but only after some measure of thought and reflection, believing that civility and truth unfortunately requires it.

In good faith,
John


Sticky Post, for a little while…
update 2019-0708: Unfortunately, designating a post as “Sticky” (which holds the post at the top of the feed) gives the appearance that the site/blog has not been updated with new posts. Since this post speaks specifically to the Ethos desired for the site I will also publish it as an outline for a permanent Page under Welcome in the menu above.
John

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