Awareness. It's important.

The human mind is a fascinating thing.

At my current place of employment, there are times between the chaos that is system administration that spontaneous philosophical ( using that term lightly ) conversations will spin up. The amount of brain power in the room is unlike any other place I have been before. We all have depths of knowledge that span different topics, and the overlap is just enough to steer topics and ideas to places that seem new to all of us. It's a unique environment, and one aspect about my current job that I will more than certainly miss when I am inevitably caused to move on to the next one.

In fact we recently had a team member move on to greener pastures ( another job ). His perspective on life is already missed in our semi-random philosophical adventures, but we soldier on.

So anyways, a somewhat common topic that comes up is Scientology. As an aside, no, I am not joining Scientology. That's not the reason for this post. I am not a religion guy. I'm just not. I get religion, I can see why some people might be drawn to it. Me? No, it isn't for me. I've spent enough time with it that I can very comfortably say that, and I'll leave it at that.

I have recently read a great series of blog posts about this. It is the story of a couple of scientologists ( who have since left ) that take you step by step through the "Bridge to Total Freedom." This is, of course, the map to freeing your mind from your physical body, and attaining complete freedom. The journey to become an "Operating Thetan" and give your mind immortality through the power to live without attachment to a human body.  There are lots and lots of resources available to tell you how insane the whole thing is. South Park episodes, Lawsuits, Insane Celebrities, The never ending stories of destroyed families, anything about David Miscavage, etc. I would suggest reading the blog series I read, it's a fairly short, but thorough ride through the whole experience.

Why am I writing this? It always amazes me when a person can so easily be influenced by such an obviously bizarre notion. It reminds me a lot of Facebook. Social Media in general really. Which has now become all media, more or less.

This happened recently with the "Facebook is going to charge you if don't post this status telling them they aren't allowed to" hoax. People, without a thought, just started re-posting it. Next thing you know, there are tv news outlets talking about it. This all happened in 24 hours. The saddest part of it? This isn't the first time this has happened! This has been recurring every 6 months or so for at least the last 5 years! Even knowing that, people still automatically get on board, and use facebook to voice their anger.

Of course, the online world of completely made up stuff isn't limited to just "Facebook's Going to Charge Us!" stories. All you need is a picture of a wounded veteran and a sentiment vaguely relating to how he's the real hero, along with something about how Obama hates the military or something, and you've got Likes. Imaginary internet points. It's sad. But it's true.

The confederate flag thing, was completely bonkers. If you ever wanted to know how many people on your timeline were racist, that was the time to find out. Any sort of thought went completely out the window. There were snap responses saying the government made it illegal to sell them ( they didn't, they are still very legal ) all the way down to racial comments I don't care to mention.

Cries of, "This is our history! Don't take it away!" Look, the Confederate Flag has become a symbol of the Civil War Confederacy. Whether that was the intention or not, that's what it is now. We've reached a point, where being proud that you were so set on having slaves that you declared war on your country, is not something to be proud of. Let’s face it, Germans don't drive around with Nazi Flags hanging off their cars, simply because it's their history... Some things are worth remembering, but not celebrating. There's a difference.

All that to say, I think people should be more aware of what they are putting out there. You might consider it a rant, a throw away sentiment, whatever. But you should remember that those things can paint a very unflattering picture of yourself, and can tell people things about you that you might not realize. You may in a fit of fear induced panic, say something that maybe you shouldn't. But the fact that you said it, regardless of your mental state, is telling. I think people should take five minutes and think about what they're posting, just ask yourself, am I going to look like an idiot for saying this? If there is even a question, maybe just hit the backspace key.

Thanks.

P.S. – Some will think I sound like an idiot as they read this. So be it. At least I put some thought into it. Although I’m sure I certainly could’ve used more.