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Fake New and No News

Yesterday Luis sent me a link to a “news story” reported by the Huffington Post.

Now I know that the Huffington Post is not “real” news. It’s a glorified blog.

But I assume (and this may be assuming too much) that there is some editorial oversight taking place there. Meaning, I assume that at the very least some editor reads stories before approving them for publication.

The story Luis sent me a link to was a story about how Moby (DJ, electronic music artist, and vegan/animal rights advocate) published a post on his Facebook page stating that he met with some friends who work in Washington (DC) and now has “evidence” that Donald Trump is being blackmailed by Russia.

Here’s the crazy thing. I’ve been so desensitized by the entertainment and distraction masquerading as being worthy of attention (i.e. the news) that I almost missed just how ridiculous this is.

It’s not that Moby isn’t entitled to his opinions. He is. And he gets to post them on his Facebook page. That’s fine.

But that’s not news. And it’s not worthy of my attention.

Also – and this just now occurs to me – I recently heard on the radio that Moby has a new autobiography. The fact that he was interviewed for an hour on a nationwide, syndicated NPR program that normally deals with slightly more “serious” topics, suggests to me that he has some major PR dollars behind him right now.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the HuffPo “news” was paid for by his PR agency.

But that’s also fine. HuffPo gets to take money and publish whatever it wants. And PR agencies get to buy media spots.

The thing that baffles me is that we give it our attention.

Any of it.

Not just HuffPo and Moby and Russian prostitutes allegedly urinating on the now-President of the United States for money.

But any of it that isn’t something real to us. Real as in this right here and now. This presently. These feelings, sensations, sounds, and people. And our sense of connection with what is real.

Because Moby and PR agencies and HuffPo and Donald Trump only get to have as much power and sway as we give them.

It’s our power. And we’re the one’s being swayed.

We get to choose to be mesmerized or not.

Think about this for a second. If we as individuals were true to our hearts, who would build the bombs? Who would wage the wars? Who would cut down forests? Who would build and run factory farms? Who would mine and enrich nuclear fuel?

Not me.

Would you?

Donald Trump can’t do anything you and I can’t do as individuals.

Moby can’t either.

Nor can Ariana Huffington.

We give our power away to a sociopathic energy.

Why do we do it?

I can tell you why I do it.

Because I’m afraid of fear.

Fear isn’t the problem.

Fear is fine. It’s right to be afraid when there are scary and dangerous things.

But I’m afraid to be afraid. So I’ve listened to the news, voted for leaders, had gurus, and prayed to Jesus.

Please save me from myself, has been my prayer. Save me from feeling anything I don’t want to feel. Keep me in my safe cocoon.

But I’ve been praying to a sociopathic energy.

The prayer itself feeds the sociopathic energy.

I no longer believe that what I need is prayer. What I need is connection.

And I get to choose that. Here and now. Always.

A Special Broadcast Tonight!

Joey and I are releasing a two part special on conspiracies that will be available tonight at midnight EST on youtube and itunes. Follow us down the strange path and let us know what you believe! Thank you!


Here are the links: &



Do we want authenticity?

I recently heard an artist talk about his work and he said, “No one wants authenticity. We all think we want that but the reality of it is always duller.”

I don’t think he meant that we want to be lied to, but that we want a manipulation of the actual experience we are trying to express, understand or have. We are story tellers in a sense.

I understood his message as someone that makes images as part of his livelihood. A tattoo or a painting is just an idealized version of the subject matter or emotions that are trying to be portrayed as objects in an abstract visual language. And in fact abstraction is an immensely powerful thing that I think we take for granted in the way we think and feel.

Even an autobiography is an abstraction of someone’s life. We don’t want to hear endlessly page after page of their actual life we want the best and worst moments. Yes?

Even our own feelings are just idealized abstractions to get to some resolution about the messy unclear messages we are actually receiving.

So the “best” versions of something are ones that in my opinion can be idealized and abstracted clearly. Strange huh?

Language and thoughts are abstractions and in a sense we are not in reality we are abstracting reality or better said we are imagining reality.

Not that cool when you are ABSOLUTELY convinced that you are right about something that seems so real and important?

Our imagined world of choices, problems, and pleasures are all idealized abstractions.

So where do we go from here?

By now you may be wanting a paragraph that leaves you feeling good or at least leaves you feeling all warm, fuzzy, and complete but those are manipulations and tricks I see myself and most writers use to manipulate the actual experience.

So beware because authenticity can be boring.

I am not saying that something is wrong or that something has to be corrected but next time you get fooled or duped just realize it is our nature to idealize and abstract the way things actually are and we love that.

Next time you read something just look and see that there is a hero hiding in there wanting to be agreed with in the most subtle way and the good news is that when something seems impossible just know it may be an idealized abstracted version of reality and in that there is freedom.

See what I just did there?



How Important Is Safety?

Lately, I’ve been contemplating how it is that prioritizing safety above all else diminishes the quality of my life.

In a recent episode that we recorded, Luis made mention of a punk rock movement in Cuba. The people involved called themselves Los Frikis.

Some of Los Frikis injected themselves intentionally with HIV.

I won’t pretend to have a good understanding of the complexities of that situation – the political situation in Cuba at the time, the implications of HIV infection.

But what I can say is that I had a visceral reaction to hearing the story when Luis told it. I was cringing. I felt slightly nauseous.

And I’ve been contemplating that, exploring that. Why did I have such a reaction? Am I sure that my beliefs on the matter are correct and true?

I see that I’ve been infected with a different type of virus.

It’s the virus of security above all else.

It’s the virus that attempts to squeeze all life out of life – because life is dangerous.

It is a kind of walking death. It is the voice behind the scenes that prompts me to avoid discomfort, avoid confrontation, avoid judgment and criticism, avoid contact.

Yesterday my oldest daughter started vomiting in the evening. She seems fine today, by the way.

Today, my partner, Sarah, has been feeling unwell. She seems to be feeling better now as I write this. But the symptoms she had are recurrent over nearly 6 years.

All of my kids have had bull’s eye rashes, though none of them have been bitten by ticks that I know of.

I mention all of this because I this same voice/virus is frequently shows up in the form of guilt and shame. It is the voice that says, “You have made them sick. You did this to them.”

See, in 2010 I became sick with what would seem to be a classic case of Lyme disease, likely due to one or more of the many tick bites I got while living in New Hampshire.

Did I pass this on to my family? Am I to blame?

There’s more. My mother’s father (I am told by multiple sources) was chronically and severely depressed. Some of his children have struggled with mental health.

I’ve struggled with mental health.

Is my grandfather to blame? Is my mother to blame? Should I never have been created? Should they have known better?

Should that have been enough for me never to reproduce?

If people are poor or have a family history of alcoholism or diabetes or heart disease or violence or any undesirable, should they not reproduce?

What does it mean to be responsible or irresponsible?

And is life really about that? Do I exist to be responsible? To do the right thing? To have foresight and be able to judge correctly the consequences of my actions?

It seems to me that this virus of security has infected me quite thoroughly. But there also seems to be a glimmer of hope for an antidote.

That antidote seems to be honesty and vulnerability. First and foremost with myself.

Not that this antidote will save me and my family or anybody else from pain, sickness, grief, sorrow, horror, and the like.

But it might allow us to actually live while we’re alive.


The Death Of Non Duality Interview

Recently Joey and I decided we may want to do a monthly interview on the show. We decided to ask a few people. I wanted to have someone on show that was extremely helpful to me in some very tough moments in my life. But if you guys know how Joey and I do things we didn’t want talk about all the stuff you see people say on their videos and books. We wanted to talk to the person in a sense. We want to talk to people about ordinary shit not necessarily all the stuff they are famous for. I contacted one of those people and asked if they would be on the show but not necessarily talk about what he or she teaches but more about their life. The person responded by saying — So you want to interview me about what I am not. I laughed and said yes!

As the interview started I foolishly jumped in with a very personal story about myself that I will try to summarize quickly that a few people may already know about me. 4 years ago I had what some people would call a spiritual awakening. After sometime I realized that what I thought was an awakening was an experience and not necessarily what I was actually looking for, or better said I wanted a permanent state or an experience with certain aspects of awakening. I wanted to completely fall into the realization that I was not a self, and as this process took place what happened for 3 years were the most intense and difficult moments that I could have ever imagined. In year one and two of this supposed awakening I dealt with everything that I thought I was, and the traumas that came from it. There was rarely a day that I was not crying and hiding from coworkers and family as I felt myself unraveling. Year three I had a nervous breakdown, quit my job, got very sick, had to get surgery on my jaw, fell off a bridge, was in a car accident and moved to Florida. I could barely function to be honest. A few months prior to that I sort of quit doing the show because I could not handle the most basic things.

After that nervous breakdown things got so dark for me that I was barely functional. I have always been chronically depressed but I had never experienced a darkness like this. About six months ago I was contemplating suicide. I remember the day that I started seriously thinking about it. I was driving to a doctors appointment and crying my eyes out in rush hour Miami traffic. I was trying to pull it together before seeing my doctor and I prayed to nothing out loud and said, “I need a miracle. I can’t live like this anymore.” A few weeks later an answer came from nowhere that sounded like — “You can’t escape or solve an imaginary problem.” In that moment I felt like a pop in my body, and all of a sudden I understood that the whole thing that felt so dark and true was no longer there. What happened for weeks after that I had this sense of gratitude, trust and joy that was never there before. I no longer cared so much about no self or enlightenment. I was just grateful to have a life that had joy and love in it. And here I am writing to you and doing the show again.

I told this story at the beginning of the interview and there was no response from anyone. The silence was so awkward and uncomfortable. All I could say was — o-k. And the then I just jumped into some stupid question to kill the silence and the dead air that strangled me. And then the person we were interviewing started on their non dual teachings and after about 40 minutes Joey finally asked one question and then the person broke out these spirituality books, and on and on it went. Inside of me I was thinking this is a fucking mess and a nightmare. I wanted it all to stop but we kept on talking. I would say something and feel myself regretting the next word and the next word. It was a grand failure. The last few minutes of the interview we actually had a conversation about our lives — the thing I actually wanted to do in the first place but by that time rolled around it was too late I had realized something that I could not undo.

Spirituality and non duality were dead things to me in that moment. The ideas that were spouted even by me no longer had any real relevance in my life. I had heard the messages and used some of these valuable tools to dislodge some views that were no longer serving me. The idea of awakening or the glorious desired enlightenment was seen to be just a philosophical and psychological antidote to the pains we all confront in our lives, and I see that some people live that way forever. Fo me there is this sense of detachment of always speaking in these special terms like – I am not a person or there is no one here. Blah, blah, blah. I realized I had done something like this on the show a year ago. I had been that type of person that I was now interviewing. I found all those terms annoying and dead in a way. I couldn’t imagine continuing to just say the same things again and again. It would feel like a prison sentence if I had to just keep saying the same things like a technique or a philosophy for life. I didn’t want an antidote anymore. I wanted to live all of it. And at that moment I observed something in me that I no longer needed — the answer or the right way. lt was all dead to me — the answers and solutions were seen to be addressing a fear phantom. I wasn’t a non dualist or anything specific now. I wasn’t consciousness or spirit or anything. I was Luis and if I were totally honest I wouldn’t know what any those words really meant.

At the moment it was like saying goodbye to an old friend and in a way I knew that maybe I wouldn’t see them again and a sadness came over me that was bittersweet. I was glad I met them but at the same time I wanted to live something without boundary or definition and I didn’t even want to hold on to what I was currently saying. I wanted to get to know people and share my experiences. I was completely ordinary and no longer pretending to be anything else. And in that I found a fire and passion that wants to share this with the world and hope that I get the opportunity to do it. And I am so thankful to Joey Lott for being part of this with me. He is my co pilot in this messy show that at times seems to be going in the wrong direction, but I realize I want to experience and feel it all now and this is how it happens.

I feel so lucky every time I write, speak and love and care for anything. I am even glad that my heart breaks so easily because in that I see myself in all these people I meet. Even when they are headed in a direction I do not like I see myself in them and understand their enthusiasm even though I am bored and no longer interested.

The magic of the show for me is that I don’t know what is happening and it feels so alive (electric) and not remotely dead; to me it is on the edge of the very things we are speaking about. I love the idea of risk and vulnerability because it is there where fear seems to be real and shows me that fear is learned and to trust in the wildness of it all seems worth the risk.

Thank you for being of part of this and reading this.



Celebrity, Dangerous Teachings, and Responsibility

Yesterday Luis and I recorded an episode in which we explored some of the “conspiracy theory” claims about global elites, Satanism, and child torture and sexual exploitation.

We’ve recently been talking about doing some additional interviews with people with celebrity to explore their humanness.

These two things combined to cause me at one point during the recording of the episode to mention to Luis that perhaps we should see if we can schedule a talk with Teal Swan.

Teal Swan is a person with celebrity who claims to have been subjected to child torture and sexual exploitation at the hands of a Santanic cult.

Teal Swan is also a highly controversial and polarizing figure.

After making that comment to Luis – something I didn’t think anything of at the time – I later had a thought: “I don’t know anything about Teal. I don’t know if she’s honest or not. Would it be disastrous if we did interview Teal and publish it?”

I could already see it: the comments proclaiming that Luis and I were promoting dangerous teachings, dishonest “spiritual teachers”, and so forth. Basically, a scandal.

Such is the insanity of celebrity, as Luis has rightly been pointing out lately in our conversations.

This is the insanity of celebrity first and foremost in my own mind. Because nothing is happening. Nothing. I haven’t even sent an email to Teal much less published an interview.

And already I am worried about the repercussions for my celebrity, Luis’s celebrity, the celebrity (to the tune of just shy of 400 YouTube subscribers) of our show.

This is how we police ourselves. This is how I police myself. This is how I try to protect an image – a future self – at the expense of present honesty.

Celebrity is dangerous. And it’s not even real. That’s crazy.

The reason Teal is so controversial is because she has a huge following as a celebrity. Huge is relative. But she has hundreds of thousands of views on her YouTube videos. And a Google search turns up not only a ridiculous number of pro-Teal websites, but also a lot of anti-Teal sites.

The anti-Teal sites argue that she promotes a “dangerous teaching” and that she is a psychopath (which is intended to dismiss her entirely – because apparently psychopaths have no value). And they further claim that she is a pathological liar.

They make her into a caricature. According to the claims, she sounds like a bumbling idiot with massive delusions.

The pro-Teal sites argue that she is a spiritual teacher to awaken humanity to some greater truth.

What is the truth?

How could we know?

And are we sure that there is the truth? A singular, objective truth.

“But there must be! We have to get to the bottom of this! The teachings may be dangerous!”

I don’t think so. I don’t think a teaching is dangerous.

And yes, my views on this subject have matured. Because a few years I all but proclaimed some such as Rajneesh and Bubba Free John as dangerous.

But now I see it differently.

All these people are doing is making sounds.

Just sounds. And relatively, the sounds aren’t even very loud. Compare their sounds to the sound of a bomb exploding. Their sounds are barely worth noting. So quiet. So insignificant.

What is so dangerous about these sounds?

I don’t see it.

And this gets to responsibility.

If Teal or Rajneesh or Byron Katie or Donald Trump or Joey Lott or Luis Campos or your mother or your neighbor or your teacher or whoever makes sounds, are they responsible for what you do, what you believe, your reactions?

There’s a quote attributed to Frank Zappa: “If you end up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.”

I am swayed by Frank Zappa’s celebrity because I like his music and his public persona.

But I don’t blindly agree with this quote. In fact, I don’t even agree with the conclusion (“you deserve it”) because I don’t even know what it means to deserve something.

I only share the quote because it points to something that might be useful to consider.

Just because Teal Swan has half a million views on some of her videos and because there are thousands of adoring “Tealers” does not mean anybody is obligated to believe her.

Just because somebody agrees with something she says doesn’t mean they are obligated to agree with everything she says.

Just because somebody is on YouTube or television or radio. Just because somebody is in a movie. Just because somebody published a book or two or a hundred. Just because they are published through a big name publisher. Just because your friend agrees with the person. Just because you agree with some things the person says. Just because the person is affiliated with your preferred political party. Just because everybody else says so…

Doesn’t make my interpretation of the sounds being made true.

If somebody is doing actual harm to me – harm that is visible – I know what to do. I can take action to evade or protect myself.

But if somebody is making sounds, why do I need to do anything? It’s just sounds.

Of course, we can argue that when people believe their interpretation of these sounds, it can and does have harmful effects. No doubt. Millions of people believed their interpretation of the sounds made by Goebbels and Hitler. Tens if not hundreds of millions of people believe their interpretation of the sounds made by George Bush and Barack Obama and Lyndon Johnson.

So there’s that.

But I’m not actually arguing that it’s “perfectly okay” to say hurtful, hateful, or untrue things. I’m just saying that I no longer believe that the sole responsibility lies with the sound makers. It seems to me that we each have a choice to blindly believe and act according to our conditioned avoidance of our experience. Or…we can inquire and see that we have no such obligation.

What does it mean to be truly free? Can we explore that openly, without clinging to presuppositions or conclusions.

Life is messy. I can’t figure it out.

But what if I don’t have to?


Satanism, Trump, and The New Agers

I recently went down a “worm hole” on the internet — I found some David Icke videos and in that search where I forget what is happening all around me I went deeper and deeper into a strange dark world where conspiracies about satanist and the illuminati were truly the ones controlling the planet. In the plethora of stuff that is out there I found a recent podcast by Joe Rogan # 911. His guest was Alex Jones. If you are not familiar with him look him up. Jones talked about all kinds of crazy stuff from multi dimensional beings, to the satanic elite illuminati cults that molest children, to a fake landing on the moon. On and on he went ranting, but there was something at around 1 hour and 45 minutes that clicked with me. I wont go into it here but it made intuitive sense to me. It was this incessant feeling that I have always had about the evil and cruel actions of human beings on the planet, and here was Alex explaining how all this came to be. I am not saying he is right or that I even believe what he said but finally there was a reason for it all it seemed.

I have always been suspicious of all this stuff as having any real validity and how could one individual fight the satanic globalists that are enslaving us? Isn’t Satan a fictional character? If there are reptilians and inter dimensional beings how could one little 150 pound Luis do anything about it?

It left me stressed as I tried going to sleep that night. The next morning I woke up and found someone by the name of Mark Passio an ex-satanist that is claiming to be truly awake and was here to inform us about the satanic global dominion that is enslaving us. Passio is very intense, and a powerful speaker. I remember over a year ago a friend telling me about him and me just saying this is too much for me right now. It left me feeling confused and paranoid. And I didn’t want to start feeling that way again. People in my family know that I can get crazy with this stuff. I was held hostage at gun point when I was 18 and it took me a very a long time to get over the idea that there were people out there trying to get me. Therapy sort of helped, but true self inquiry about the nature of my thoughts is what undid that knot. And here I was again facing my inner demons, or better said the many memories that I have of myself and what I have been through.

I have to admit the Icke, Jones, and Passio’s conspiracies of satanist running the planet scares the hell out of me. Probably because I can’t imagine such evil and yet it explains the immense nonsensical cruelty I see in the world. As a child I was so afraid of Satan that at age of 10, after watching the movies ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘The Omen’ I was taken to a psychologist and hypnotist to cure me of my fear of being possessed by the devil himself. It was so bad that for almost a year before my first visit with the therapist I was sleeping just a couple of hours a night on the floor near the foot of my parents bed completely exhausted from the terror of demonic possession. My father insisted that I was being a sissy. My mother was a bit more understanding and took me to get some help. It was a very difficult 2 years to say the least.

So my earliest memory of starting to be treated psychologically for all my mental woes started at around 10. And if any of you know my story I spent over 3 decades in and out of therapy of all kinds for mood disorders, delusions, etc. And now I am no longer doing that. In fact I feel to be somewhat done with a lot of that stuff. But who knows?

But as I watched these people tell me how I was being enslaved and how horrible everything was I started to think of Trump, our new president. Trump embodies many of the ideologies that go against my very liberal views. And even these supposed righteous views that I thought were mine were implanted supposedly by the satanist themselves, according to Mr. Passio.

I could feel my mind wanting to get out. It felt like I was in a long dark hallway with hundreds of doors and none opened or could let me out of this mess that I had gotten myself into. All the doors were locked, and the more I heard these people speak the more I tried the next door and the next door in my mind, and on and on it went. And then I remembered something that is always available — ‘this is an imaginary problem and all I have to do is see it as that.’ It was a tool that has helped me many times when I start to obsess about anything. But Mr. Passio was saying that the new age movement was teaching us all to be passive and to not act.

According to Passio one of the new age movement’s techniques to keep us docile was about ignoring the horrors of the world and just accepting everything as it is. He said this was all part of the illuminati satanist agenda. I know some new age people and they do not seem to be ignoring the horrors of the world, in fact some are very focused on them. I don’t consider myself “new agee” but I do see a few useful things in that from time to time.

I also realize that everything I have ever learned or believed was given to me as a concept by someone, and I have no evidence to tell me who truly put it there, and what were their ultimate means on making me believe these concepts as my own. And who chooses what becomes ours? I don’t know. I am also not excluding the responsibilities of my actions, words, or thoughts here. Passio also said that this lack of responsibility of choice and selfhood was another “new ager bs” technique. I don’t have to deny other people’s truth but if these whistle blowers want me to see their views as real possibilities first they have to understand that there are people out there that are going to need a shit ton of evidence to start seeing things in a whole new way.

All this reminds me of preachers, politicians and even new age enlightenment teachers offering some ultimate solution to the world’s woes. So many people have told us time and time again that this is the real problem. But do I really want to follow this for years to find out that Passio, Jones or Icke were just trying to sell me something new? These guys are up against some real cynicism and ignorance and that seems like an enormous undertaking.

Passio, Icke and Jones remind me of a very western view that is attributed to communists, socialists, liberals, jihadists, cult leaders and many other supposed enemies of America and freedom itself — fundamentalism and dogmatism always seem to follow fear mongering. I am not saying that there is no satanic illuminati agenda, and that we should not stop reptilian satanist from hurting children. I am saying that the very things Passio claims that the satanist are doing he himself is doing with his ideologies and his approach. He does admit that he is a luciferian which is not the same thing as satanist. He says he is on the side of good and not bad. It is simple to say I am this or that, and I know the new age movement has brain washed me in this way (winky face), but I disagree with the supposed new age movement in so many ways. I disagree with most people to what anything truly is. Passio claims most of those people in the new age scene are brain washed cowards. I think he is trying to incite people to act and be courageous, but his means could use some polishing.

For me it takes great courage to not know, to lose certainty and to lose yourself and to be shown a vulnerability that destroys everything you took yourself to be. It takes an enormous amount of trust and courage to have absolutely nothing that one can hold onto when you confront this emptiness and horror in the world, and to choose love and your own version of truth seems brave.

To me the real question is does any of this do anything to target the essential problem? The proof of satanists controlling the planet does not seem to be the real problem. What does seem to be the real issue is the fact that we are being enslaved through the culture of self obsession, money, and that children are being tortured and killed. Forget the horns and go after the real issues in my opinion. If there are inter dimensional reptilians and the moon is a space ship how does the average person do something with that? How do we stop it? I hear a lot of problems but few definitive solutions other than the exposure of the immense outrageous problem. Do Icke, Jones or Passio realize how hard it is to grock all this?

Right now I have no definitive evidence of reptilian satanists controlling me, I see materialism and the fascination with ourselves destroying us more than we care to admit, and that goes along with the satanist agenda quite well. It all sounds awful and all seems doomed but what I choose to do is not turn my back on any of it. All I can do is act when I confront what I believe to be wrong and that is what any of us can do. I have always liked the quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And Passio and I seem to be doing this in our own unique ways.

Everyone that I know from spiritual teachers to dictators to the satanists offer us something like freedom as if it were a real object that one gets at the end of a battle. I see only more problems with that promise. I also know that what these people were saying was at least partially true. There are children being abused and killed for sick reasons and I want to do something about that right now. This is where I start. Help us stop this. Become informed.

All I can do is follow what feels true in me and use my words, my actions in relationship with those around me, and hope that it undoes the cruelty, fear, and enslavement of us all. If any of the things that these people have said are true I commend them for their honesty and dedication to the truth. But one thing that sticks out in my mind is would they let Passio or Icke live to utter one word of this if it were true, or is that also part of the plan? It is all too strange. It can leave someone numb with so many possibilities.

In conclusion, I don’t know if the Satanist are running the planet, but maybe? I don’t know if Trump is the killer of us, or the savior of us, but all I can do is take responsibility for myself and act in a way that serves what is true in my heart. And I can honestly say that I did learn some very valuable things from all of it that have changed me and I am very grateful for it.

Thanks for being a part of this and reading this,



Social Media Shaming and Conformity

Today I heard a piece on the radio in which Jon Ronson, author of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, discussed social media shaming and conformity.

I was struck by how much his observations mesh with the stuff that Luis and I explore on Completely Ordinary.

He gives specific examples of how social media shaming can affect a person’s life outside of social media – their job, their friends, their families, the safety.

People lose jobs, friends, and family over tweets. They are actually made to be afraid for their physical safety because of a sequence of words – often not even hateful words – posted on the internet.

An example: one woman survived a high speed train crash in Pennsylvania. She tweeted that she wanted to retrieve her violin. The responses were over the top and brutal. People wished her dead for her apparent insensitivity to the harm that came to her fellow passengers.

All she wrote was that she wanted to retrieve her violin.

People wished her painful death as a result. They called her all kinds of things that I can almost guarantee you wouldn’t call all but the most vile, heartless, cruel people to their face.

All of which makes me realize just how much we need connection – how much most people are starving for true kindness.

But the thing that Ronson said that really struck me was that all of this kind of shaming and outbursts of unkindness on social media causes people to conform. Without even realizing it, we are becoming more conformist – less interested in what is true in our hearts and more interested in what others think.

To me, that is a recipe for mass misery – for the starvation of the soul, so to speak.

And my question is this: can we join together to celebrate being true to our hearts? Can we celebrate that in ourselves and in one another? Can we see past our prejudices and our fears of judgment and being shamed and outcast and be willing to love one another instead?

For anybody interested in hearing one of Jon Ronson’s talks, here’s a link to one of his TED talks:

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