You may or may not know that there are web pages out in cyberspace asserting that the Dalai Lama is a “Nazi fascist cult leader”, Mother Teresa led a “Cult of death” and Nelson Mandela was a “Communist, terrorist murderer.”
And these are not just isolated incidents, there are literally hundreds of links to pages spewing forth this nasty, hate filled and vindictive diatribe.
We all know people who seem to delight in occupying the negative viewpoint. We all have known people who have a nasty intention and simply wish to desecrate good works by shrouding them in suspicion and negative here say.
I am connected to people online who roll out volumes of righteous dogma every time someone presents a viewpoint they do not agree with. It goes on all around us. And the internet is where these viewpoints thrive, gain popularity and somewhere in the dark corners of some universe, become truth.
IT is an amazing phenomena. But it is not new. For centuries, people have had a fascination with rumours and have not been able to resist the urge to pass them on, just in case they are true. We have all been guilty of it sometime in the past. It is the same quality in our collective consciousness that allows Newspapers and other Media Outlets to run a story based on some story, and not on confirmed fact.
Some News Broadcasters in the US live off half-truths that get a nation of gossips and critics ready for a lynching, or even war. It is incredible to watch.
We all know that it goes on. If ever you have been at the wrong and of a slanderous story, you will know how difficult it is to regain your state of innocence; that is if you even concern yourself with trying.
I remember my brother in law sharing a story once. He is a big, overweight man, not overly gifted with social graces. In fact he can be quite uncouth. He was on a very, very crowded tram and needed to pass wind. He thought he would try to do it quietly but was immediately hit by an overwhelmingly disgusting odour.
Trapped and surrounded by people he took the only evasive action available. He looked at the man standing directly in front of him and said out loud, “You dirty animal”. That was it. The man was guilty as charged and the looks of disdain and condemnation would have wilted even the strongest soul.
My brother in law thought it was a funny story, but to me it was a powerful case study of what human beings are capable of.
But this is the piece that I find it hard to reconcile. There are people out in the world doing great work. They are backing themselves and with great courage striding into new ground, creating new and exciting things. There are people in every profession, every industry and every human endeavour doing the things that change the world. And there are people attacking them and doing everything they can to bring them down.
I am always bemused when a Politician, who has decided to dedicate his or her life to serving humanity, is all of a sudden all over the newspapers because they had a DUI charge when they were 22 years of age, or for fathering a child out of wedlock when they were 18 or even indulging in an extra marital affair at some point.
Give me a break. Is anyone on this planet perfect? Western culture has much of its roots deep in Christianity. Didn’t Jesus say things like “He who has not sinned cast the first stone” or “Is not the splinter you see in the other man’s eye not but a reflection of the log in your own?” My apologies to those of you Bible scholars out there who might pick up the error in my presentation of scripture and who may use my error to discount the entire article. Yikes!
The Buddhist say that when you point your finger at another person, you should be mindful of where the other three fingers are pointing.
Harry Palmer wrote, “Preaching Morality is Hidden Confession”.
When people accuse, you know what their attention is stuck on. You know where their transgressions against others lie. So, in general, it is quite easeful to deduce that when people openly criticise and accuse, they are confessing their own sins.
See, here is the bottom line, if someone I know does something that isn’t cool, I can accuse or I can support them to clean it up and restore their moral code. I choose the latter any day. And if I find myself feeling critical of someone, it is a red flag and a good opportunity for me to clean something up in my own space.
So back to the critics, detractors and bashers out there in cyberspace. How do their pages get so high on the search engines? Simply because people click on them and read them. See, the Internet does not need any form of censorship. What it needs is for each of us to give these preachers of doom a wide berth and not read their stuff. Every time we click on a nasty link, we are putting oxygen on a fire of deceit and hate.
Here is a way of making amends. If you accidentally end up on one of these sites, get away quickly. Then, get ten friends to go and click around on the official site of the person being attacked. With good intention, these hate filled cyber assassins can be driven to the bottom of search engines.
And you know, I have to put my 20 cents worth in on Wikipedia. There are so many profiles of good people on Wikipedia that have been created by a detractor or even an enemy. There is enough factual information added to give it legs and the rest is here say and untrue. But it sits there for everyone to read as “Encyclopaedia Fact”. I do suggest caution when researching people on Wikipedia.
So when someone tells me something negative about another person, business or service and they inform me that they have “done their research”, I can be pretty sure they have just been trawling the internet to find something that suited their own viewpoint, to keep them in their own comfort zone.
After all, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa are both icons of personal responsibility and responsibility for the care of others. For some, that is just too confronting. They have not finished blaming and hating. So of course, they have to make them as wrong as possible.
What stance are you going to make? Are you supporting the rumour mills or are you getting in behind the good intentions and creative power of good and courageous people?
Tossing the Ball Around
It is August 19th, 2013, and I am very excited this morning. I am sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Hamilton in New Zealand. Last night, the All Blacks gave the Wallabies a bit of a spanking, but I am excited.
Did you see the game? Maybe Rugby Union is not your cup of tea, and that is ok. I can forgive you for that. But having been born and partly raised in Queensland, it is in my blood.
I feel like, for the first time in a very long time, the shackles have come off the Wallabies. They stopped being so dour in defence and started to throw the ball around. Their play was exciting, adventurous and they took chances.
They made some mistakes that the All Blacks capitalised on, but they didn’t go into their shells. They just kept at it, running the ball and throwing it around, taking risks.
And the amazing effect was that this seemed to free up the All Blacks as well and they started to play an even more positive brand of Rugby. The game was thrilling and spectacular.
Wait till the Wallabies settle into this new style of play. They will give the World Cup a real shake in 2015.
But, that is not the main source of my excitement. It demonstrates to me a shift in attitude at the pointy end of this country. The Australian Rugby Union is not the government but they still hold our hearts in their hands. Perhaps Cricket Australia is learning this too.
See, I have had this feeling of dismay for so long about the decisions being made in the top end of town. The world economy has been struggling for a long time and the best strategies our corporate leaders can think of is to shut down on spending. They are playing a defensive game and it is killing so many other areas of the economy.
What would happen if they took a different viewpoint and took some risks and started to spend, become ambitious and bold. There may be some different results.
Small businesses depend on big businesses spending money. When big businesses go into “spending shut down” mode, they still make big profits. But, those profits end up in company savings or in the pockets of shareholders and very little of it creeps out into the economy.
Small and medium businesses then tend to follow suit and zip up their wallets and purses and everything slows to a crawl. Then we look at Governments and say they are not doing enough.
This fear based mindset makes a recession more real and keeps it frozen in place, as opposed to building our way out of it.
Economic slow-downs have a huge negative impact, not just because people lose their jobs or because small businesses fail, but also because there is less revenue going into essential community services and many of societies normal support structures begin to break under the strain.
So, let’s bring this back into our own lives. What are we doing? Are we playing it safe like the Wallabies have been, or are we prepared to take a risk and throw the ball around a little?
Are we stopping spending “just in case”, or holding back on more speculative investments, or even holding off on going into the business we always wanted to start….because the time is not right?
Are we investing in the shares of the big companies who are putting the brakes on and sucking the life out of the economy so we can get safe returns? If we are, it could be argued that we are part of the problem.
Are you buying cheap food to save money or are you going for good health and wellbeing and buying the good stuff, and in doing so, supporting positive industries and food suppliers?
This probably all comes back to us shifting our perspective from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?” When you step up and do your bit to make the economy grow, you are making a huge contribution to the lives of others. And you don’t have to spend money with the big corporates who are cutting costs and hording wealth either.
This fits in perfectly with a piece of advice Greg Norman once gave me. I asked him about some of the outrageously risky shots he used to take, like a One Wood over the trees on a par 5 dog leg at Huntingdale. He said to me, “My first obligation is the fans. They come to see exciting golf. So, that is what I give them. If I win too, that is a bonus.”
So, is the world seeing your most exciting gifts right now?