HT

Part two of a multi-part introspection/journey by Tom O’ Bedlam. Part One can be found here.

There’s no reason, no goal, to what I’ve done. Truthfully, nothing I did changed anything. For all the disgusting and horrifying things I posted, I found no tangible result. Sure, I got blocked enough times that I didn’t have to be subjected to some of the worst elements of humanity, but at the end of the day, nothing was changed. The people I antagonized had not changed, and I only wound up deeper in a hole full of self-loathing and anger.

I find myself wondering if this is why people do these things. A mirror for our own self-hatred? A lack of constructive means of criticism? Or just the fact that nothing we can do can change the minds and hearts of those who we have come to despise? Fact is, it’s a self-destructive pattern that cannot be changed unless we want it to change.

At the end of the day, all I had done was send vile things to vile people. They remained as vile as they were before, but with added vigor at the thought that someone opposes them so mindlessly. To my horror, I also saw how it changed me. My anger had become an endless font with no structure. No way to turn that energy into some sort of positive change. I was miserable, and I knew it. Unlike many I’ve seen, I actually took this as impetus for change.

I deleted my Twitter, cleaned up other various social media, changed who I allowed into my head, and started anew. Today marks the third day I’ve managed to not send horrible things to equally horrible people. It’s much like quitting any other despicable habit we may have as people, a work in progress. Some days are harder than others, when the beast curls its way back into my heart and tells me these people need some swift, karmic justice. Problem is, there is neither karma nor justice in thinking that horror is going to stop the ravings of madmen.

There is a cognitive effort in separating that beast from my conscious thoughts. I remain ever-aware that at any moment, I can just as easily slip backwards. I have, many times. Every time, I take more action to try to safeguard against this, a more conscious effort to finally by what I want to see in the digital world.

By no means am I saying I’m going to let the bastards roam freely, picking off the sick and the weak, converting the foolish and misguided. Instead, I’ve started thinking about my favorite movie, Pulp Fiction, and a question it left in my mind, so many years ago. Am I the shepherd, or am I the tyranny of bad men?

I found I didn’t like the answer, honestly.

Instead of being a fire-brand for some sort of skewed memetic berserker, I found solace in some sort of messianic head-trip. Assured that if I be what I want to see, others will take note and perhaps find similar tunes to march to, in their own minds. Frankly, I find this peaceful zealotry much more comforting than sending images of nightmares and horror.

I’m finding that maybe this is what the world needs. Zealotry not of division and destruction, but the zealot’s mindset aimed at creation and unification. A hippie weapon of mass construction. Another bearded vagabond, a veritable Tom o’ Bedlam set out to bring people together, and show a better way.

Maybe this was a spectrum that I was sliding along. From hatred to compassion. From negative to positive. Or maybe this is just the ramblings of a damaged mind. I didn’t use the “Tom o’ Bedlam” identity lightly. However, in this madness, maybe there is peace that doesn’t involve hating myself and sending images of human excrement to Joss Whedon.

Maybe there’s another way to beat an enemy, besides butting heads.

Maybe showing the compassion they lack will do the job.

Or maybe I have truly become a Tom o’ Bedlam, and I’m just too mad to realize it.  Either way, it certainly can’t be any worse than what I stepped out of.  What I urge everyone to leave behind.  It’s only ego and anger.  Nothing you can’t stand to walk away from.  The world on the other side is much better, once you realize it doesn’t have to be negativity and bile.

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Jason Golden
I'm that crazy guy that writes things and hosts the Graded PointFive comics podcast.