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The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

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Thread: The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    3,847

    Default The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

    Most of us are probably familiar with the parable of the blind men and the elephant (if not, here's the first bit of the poem:


    It was six men of Indostan
    To learning much inclined,
    Who went to see the Elephant
    (Though all of them were blind),
    That each by observation
    Might satisfy his mind.

    The First approach'd the Elephant,
    And happening to fall
    Against his broad and sturdy side,
    At once began to bawl:
    "God bless me! but the Elephant
    Is very like a wall!"

    The Second, feeling of the tusk,
    Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
    So very round and smooth and sharp?
    To me 'tis mighty clear
    This wonder of an Elephant
    Is very like a spear!"

    The Third approached the animal,
    And happening to take
    The squirming trunk within his hands,
    Thus boldly up and spake:
    "I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
    Is very like a snake!"

    The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
    And felt about the knee.
    "What most this wondrous beast is like
    Is mighty plain," quoth he,
    "'Tis clear enough the Elephant
    Is very like a tree!"

    The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
    Said: "E'en the blindest man
    Can tell what this resembles most;
    Deny the fact who can,
    This marvel of an Elephant
    Is very like a fan!"

    The Sixth no sooner had begun
    About the beast to grope,
    Then, seizing on the swinging tail
    That fell within his scope,
    "I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
    Is very like a rope!"

    And so these men of Indostan
    Disputed loud and long,
    Each in his own opinion
    Exceeding stiff and strong,
    Though each was partly in the right,
    And all were in the wrong!
    ). I have had occasion to reflect recently that on the internet, I am an elephant. On the SKMB, I am one version of me. On Facebook, I'm another. On my blogs, another still (and it depends which blog you look at). And yet, everywhere I leave a piece of me, that piece is a real and true expression of who I am. I'm not that internet creeper your parents warned you about; heck, I don't even own a white van.

    The two places I spend the most time online, with the exception of work and not counting the time I spend reading about oddities on Wikipedia, are the SKMB and Facebook. On here, mostly I'm straightforward and serious with an occasional bit of goofiness, and I use a LOT of bullet points. (I ♥ bullet points. I bet you all knew that already, huh?) But on Facebook, I give voice to every weird thought most of the weird, random, stream-of-consciousness thoughts that go through my head--and not too much of the serious stuff. And yet, in both places, I'm being completely genuine. Well, genuine. Perhaps not complete. And it's not like it's a calculated thing, either. It's just a natural division.

    So I guess what I am wondering is this: are you more like me (and the elephant)? Or are you the same everywhere? I think most people with an extensive online existence have those little compartments, but maybe not. I'm wondering where the dividing line is, too; when does normal human interaction become dishonesty?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Cambridge, Ohio
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    17,667

    Default Re: The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

    ...I'm an idiot in any reality...just ask anyone...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    3,331

    Default Re: The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

    "So I guess what I am wondering is this: are you more like me (and the elephant)? Or are you the same everywhere?"

    Am I like you (and the elephant)? Hmmm - good question. I used to only go on Facebook but I got kinda sick of it. So much stupid stuff on there. I see people with 900 - 2000 "friends". It was amusing at first but lately I have not bothered to go on it all. I only joined Facebook to keep in touch with my son in Edmonton. I think SKMB is a bit more anonymous. On Facebook I have put tons of photos as well as where I have been in the world (you should see my map!) It is very advertising heavy as well and of course they don't have a great monitor like Ms. Mod! (Ooops - I am sorry - is my nose a bit brown today?)

    You do make a very good point, however and I loved that poem about the elephant. Have a great day and TGIF! Yay! The weekend is coming at last!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Maine
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    14,080

    Default Re: The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

    Is it actually dishonesty? I think we all have those pieces that make us a whole and we bring them out as befits where we are at the moment, sort of the time and place for everything kind of thinking. I'm going to act more serious at a business meeting than I would with friends but they're both parts of my whole self.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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    3,926

    Default Re: The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

    You should watch the Woody Allen movie "Zelig", Todash. It's a story about a human chameleon. Whatever the people around him are like, that's how he acts (and even physically changes).

    I think this is normal. Who here talks to their grandmother the same way they talk to their bar buddies?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

    Quote Originally Posted by GNTLGNT View Post
    ...I'm an idiot in any reality...just ask anyone...
    No you aren't! You are one of the funniest people on this board. I love your pictures. Thanks for all the laughs you have provided!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Falmouth of the Mighty BlueGrass State and Commonwealth of Kentucky
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    5,859

    Default Re: The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

    Good one, hmmmm...
    What ya don't see is what ya don't get.
    (and just maybe what may could quite possibly be considered by some..yeah yeah fine, by many, to be a gianormous heap o' cussin'...Hi, my name is Pat and I am a potty-mouth-o-holic)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    120 miles S of the Waffle/Pancake line in pancake territory
    Posts
    2,805

    Default Re: The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

    I don't think we are just different on the internet but we have several different personalities we use depending on the situation. I don't like to think of it as dishonesty, just adaptability.

    When you own a business, you have to have this "adaptability" when dealing with the wide variety of customers you encounter. When the local "snake handling" church calls you and want you to do some work for them, you are probably going to have some kind of conversation with the pastor of this "snake handling" church and the last thing you are going to say to him is that you think he's nuts. But, when you do tell your friends you think he's nuts. No disrespect intended for any religious snake handlers on the board (see I just did it again).

    We may be bolder in our comments on the internet, however, because of the anonymity.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    11,220

    Default Re: The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

    I think it has to do with demeanor/mien-- how a person acts in different situations. Like MsMod and Fush stated, we act different to our surroundings/ or the people we are interacting with. (SKMB/FB/Blogs) All in all, we are still the same person, just demonstrating different aspects of out personality.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    The woods are lovely dark and deep
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    Default Re: The elephant and the blind men and the internets and us

    I believe most of us conduct ourselves accordingly within the boundaries presented by an environment. Facebook is almost like a free-for-all thus people feel almost uninhibited. (I personally feel it is a PITA and I am not talking about the animal rescue persons.) Here in this place we are a guest of Mr. King's and our interactions are moderated by a wise and incredibly patient Ms. Mod. The atmosphere here is of books, reading and learning (at least that is my feeling) and a very special one.

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