Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Conflict Algorithm

Simulated Pseudo-Organic Conflict Algorithm from ClearwavePro AJW on Vimeo.

It's a peculiar thing, how the strange new media of the virtual world encourages our darkness.

With my novel coming out in just about a month, I find myself aware that, well, some people just won't like it.  They will write reviews that say, eh, this book didn't work for me.  Boring, boring, boring, they'll say.  And I will cry and be sad.  Snif.

And eventually, some troll will get a bee in their bonnet about it, and write things that are nasty, shallow, bitter and deeply unfair.

What is my choice, in such an instance?  How am I to respond?

The monkey-mind temptation is to fling myself at them, to summon my rage powers, and to take them down.

Then they respond.  Then I respond.  Then our friends get into it.  The next thing you know, it's a full-on hairball of a dogfight, a churning trackless interweaving of rage-threads and invective.

That means a whole bunch of people spending a whole bunch of time on a website or destination.

Which is exactly what we're supposed to be doing.  Fighting is good for business.

And there's something more, something I noticed when a dead-hearted Pharisee wrote an utterly unfair review of a friend's excellent book on Goodreads.  This peculiar soul panned a book she hadn't even read, solely because she'd learned it had a couple of bad words in it.

A Christian writes a book about the spiritual process of recovery from a brutal rape that has a smattering of profanity?  And the bad words offend another "Christian" more than the rape itself, so much so they feel obligated to write a smug missive about it?  Lord have mercy, but some folk have their priorities wrong.

My friend's friends leapt to her defense, calling out the Pharisee.  There was the usual back and forth. And when the smoke cleared, what review do you suppose the Goodreads algorithms put right there at the top?

The troll's review, because that was where the energy was.  That was, as far as the cold eyes of data were concerned, the most interesting discussion.

Seeing this maddening vortex, I made myself a pledge, in defiance of this dynamic.  If I read a terrible, horrible, no good review, I may feel defensive.  Scratch that.  I will feel defensive.

But I will not let myself manifest that defensiveness.  I will not go on the offensive.  I will simply allow that some folks have different taste.  Or that some trolls are like that, and move on.

Because in this peculiar internet era, the Machine wants us to be fighting, goading us on like a gambler wagering at a drunken barroom brawl, all the while profiting from our anger-addled attention.  That's something to keep in mind.

And in defiance of that, put your energies into grace, whenever and wherever you can.