How gingerly I walk the tight rope that runs across the gauntlet of my chiseled ethos and the driving need to not harm others.
While Olga and I joke of our constant struggle with buyers remorse, the actual struggle that I have faced this week has been one of cognitive dissonance.
Instead of my strong ideals pushing me to follow a course of action, I have found that two opposing powerful beliefs have clashed so violently, I am left in a state of real and present anxiety. Last night was the first time in my life that I lay in bed and experienced true paralysing anxiety. The kind that leaves you unable to breathe and without a rational exit.
The Internet poses many interesting questions and leaves us open to a myriad of situations that would never have existed in a world of pen pals and rotary dial telephones. There are benefits and losses. As a scientist, there seems to me to be endless positives to this futurist Jetson-style world we live in. I long to look outside and see flying cars but then the reality of 3D conceptualisation crashes head on in to the fact that most people have trouble merging in to one lane, as they drive on a linear surface in their 1 tonne boxes of steel reinforced status anxiety.
Everything is accelerated. Faster. Dizzier. Manic. We love it but oh how we cherish the moment it all stops. The duplicity of our stop-go lives leaves me in a state of confusion, often. Then I sit down and wait, think and process then understand the source and meaning of my life momentum.
Last month, an old colleague touched base with me. We often share facebook comments or take a passing glance as the photos posted on flickr. We worked together a long time ago at Quarantine, in Canberra. That was a place full of old guys who had moulded in to furniture and found young upstarts like me too energetic at times. This guy was part of the furniture.
He was fun to talk to online. We even had a coffee while I was visiting the capital recently but the real meat of the story comes in the dark menacing form of the online shadow. A person who sees you are suffering or in a bad place, from your mood online and decides to exploit that for their own gain. I have seen this multiple times and mainly during my deepest depression when people saw I was at my weakest. Luckily, I had good people around me and although I made errors in judgement, there was nothing that caused too much pain. Ask anyone on the Internet and they will have a story of duplicity and betrayal for you.
At first I wondered about the reasoning behind the behaviour of these people. What makes someone prey on another member of their species? What perks up inside them when they see someone who they perceive as weak? What is the reward they seek at the end of the hunt?
The last question is interesting. The WHY of it all.
From my recent experience with a shadow, it was some kind of moral test. A game of positioning and baiting. Pulling me in to a situation and then abandoning me at the point where I stood alone before the Wizard. I am still not sure if I passed or failed the test. What I do know is that as soon as I made the decision to no longer play, I was answered with boredom and disinterest.
So, this will happen. It will happen with people who you once knew. That's a great way to make contact. The best way to respond is to refuse to play the game. Follow your moral compass. Trust your gut. Make decisions based in thought and not reaction to sensory stimulation.