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.

Confessions of a Shitposter: This is (not) the Epilogue
Confessions of a Shitposter, or A Trip into Dante’s Digital Inferno
The fol­low­ing two tabs change con­tent be­low.
Jason Golden
I’m that crazy guy that writes things and hosts the Graded PointFive comics pod­cast.
Jason Golden

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