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"Jenna (returns) "

“Jenna” the woman who portrayed herself as “Angylina” began posting again on LiveJournal. She is no longer using someone else’s pics (instead choosing to use stolen cartoons). Just a few weeks after being revealed publicly as a liar, she has returned to posting about her daily thoughts. She has disabled the commenting system for obvious reasons. I wonder how many people are reading her journal oblivious to the pain the “Jenna” character has caused.

This return of Jenna is insane to the point of absurdity. Teetering somewhere on the laugh/cry borderline.

She has come to symbolize such vileness to many people. Why would she continue this path? Why would she flaunt her evil so proudly?

I’m all for flaunting. I suppose I just assume that people would want to flaunt what they are proud of. Is it possible that she is proud of her lies? Proud of her ability to manipulate? She’s like a digital Dr. Evil. Cartoon-ish in her badness.

I suppose the Jessica Rabbit figure of Angylina she chose as an avatar is fitting.

But if this were true, wouldn’t she come clean as dramatically as possible? Wouldn’t she take a moment to gloat and taunt? Maybe have a webcam set up at the airport to watch my expression as I woke up to my humiliation?

Instead she maintains that (for the most part) she is sincere. She has a (questionable) explanation for every hole in her story.

So instead of being an explosive performance of deceit, she is an infected splinter. Unpleasant and constantly reminding me of the ever-present sickness in this digital world.

And as she begins to post again on Live Journal, the splinter is migrating to the surface. Not causing much harm in and of itself…but reminding me daily that her darkness exists.

I emailed her, “I hope someday you have the strength to add goodness to the world.”

***

I think she actually gets off on “Spiritual vandalism.” I think she enjoys messing with people’s feelings, emotions, and lives. Like the kid who fails in school so carves his name in a desk or breaks off the door to the bathroom stall.

Unable to succeed, he strives to be successful at failing. “If I can’t create the mona lisa, I’ll draw a mustache on it.” This is the same motivation of the class clown: Desperate for attention. Desperate to make some statement of achievement…even if it is in a negative direction.

I can only assume that Jenna (and the many people like her) get a thrill from impacting lives.

She reminds me of the child who tortures animals -- Pulls the wings off bugs and pokes kittens with sticks. It is a sense of power. Perhaps this is the “dark side” of Lucas’ mythology.

Is she oblivious to the pain she causes? Or simply uncaring?

If oblivious, then education is an easy answer.

Perhaps shower her with love and hope that, over time, her darkness will turn to light.

If uncaring, then…I suppose the best we can do is protect ourselves against her and her type. And find a healthy place of caution from which to deal with online uncertainty.

And this is where is gets dangerous.

We must make sure our armor doesn’t block out too much. Chain mail may protect against blows, but if it makes it impossible to receive kisses, well, then it’s not worth it.

The United States in its post 9-11 scrambling is having a parallel dilemma. How do we protect ourselves without losing ourselves?

Protecting our freedom by giving up our freedom is double-plus ungood.

The internet is a tool vastly underutilized. At this stage in the game it is dangerous and risky. So lets find ways to minimize risk rather than strive to eliminate it.

LIFE IS RISK. To avoid risk is to avoid living.

***

Was I talking about Jenna? Sorry I tend to get distracted.

It is hard for me to understand making the choice to be dark. To me it is so obvious that choosing the higher path is its own reward.

I fear that many people get beaten into ‘survivor mode.’

By survivor mode, I mean the state of mind where you do whatever you must to provide for yourself and your loved ones. Would you steal food if you were starving? Would you kill?

When someone has slipped to the bottom of that hill, it is tough to get back up to the high road. If you’ve learned to hustle to escape a beating, the world becomes a very different place. The world becomes an enemy. And you are alone. When you are alone against the world, it is easy to lie, steal, cheat. Survival becomes about number one.

And riotousness and honor become jokes.

How do we convince Jenna that there is inherent pleasure in doing good. And that hurting someone else is hurting a part of ourselves. We are not fighting over the last scrap of food, so how do we snap out of that selfish world view?

***

Just as sex in the new century requires latex protection, Online life will have to build its own form of protection. Not so thick that it hinders pleasure. Not so thin that we continue to get hurt.

This is the dilemma of every day living, too. The digital world simply gives us new ways to experience the challenge.

As we take baby steps into this new digital word, we need to figure out what the appropriate amount of protection is.

Surfers have discovered that a 3 millimeter thickness wetsuit is ideal in the body and 2 mil is the sleeves. This allows optimum warmth and allows freedom of arm movement so as not to impede the ability to paddle.

We need to discover what our digital wetsuit needs to be.

In these early stages I’m going bare back. And it I’m taking my share of scrapes from the coral reef. Nothing that will kill me or keep me out of the water for good. But I’m building up quite a collection of scars.

I hope these scars will provide a roadmap for future digital travelers.

Because the journey is amazing. It has been central to my path of spiritual growth and self-awareness. And it would be a shame if people were discouraged from walking the digital path just because there were risks.

 


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