Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Sound of One Hand Tweeting

Okay, this made me laugh.

I have mentioned before that I have a Twitter account. The majority of the people I follow write jokes.  I do not follow people who use it to discuss the mundane day-to-day of their lives (Oh, boy, I just love milk) or who use it to push an agenda (You must send money today to protect the planet against the ever increasing scourge of people wearing plaids and checks at the same time) or people who simply use it as a way to self-promote (I will be selling my hand woven raffia iPhone covers at the supermarket parking lot this Saturday). Recently I clicked on the follow button for the Dalai Lama.  He doesn’t talk about the tasty mustard seed dressing he had at dinner last night, ask for money to buy more robes for disadvantaged monks or peddle his mountain top tours.  He says things that promote kindness and reinforce the ideas that we need to be nice to each other.  I like that.

Here’s the part that made me laugh.  Twitter sends me e-mails suggesting people I might want to follow based on who I already follow.  The e-mail I got after choosing to follow the Dalai Lama said “Here are accounts similar to who you followed.  Similar to the Dalai Lama… The Onion.”  The Onion is an organization dedicated to silly.  It creates fake news for the purpose of entertainment and has very little concern about offending people.  So, on the one hand we have a man who has dedicated his life to spiritual enlightenment for himself and as many others as he can possibly reach and on the other hand we have a group of people who like writing stories with as many double entendres as humanly possible.  Yeah, that connection makes total sense. 

Now let’s examine the idea that the Dalai Lama has a Twitter account.  The Dalai Lama is thought to be the reincarnation of a series of spiritual leaders who have chosen to be reborn in order to enlighten others. The Dalai Lama is the highest lama of Tibetan Buddhism and the highest goal of Tibetan Buddhism is to achieve Buddhahood, or a state of perfect enlightenment.  This perfect enlightenment means one is freed from all mental obstructions, one attains a state of continuous bliss attached simultaneously with the knowledge of emptiness, and all limitations to help other living things are removed.  That is perfect for Twitter.

Let’s look at the perfect enlightenment one component at a time.  One is freed from all mental obstructions.  Have you spent much time on Twitter?  Or any part of the internet?  Mental is not what it excels at so mental obstructions would not be present. One attains a state of continuous bliss attached to the knowledge of emptiness.  Happiness brought about by emptiness may be a better definition of the internet than a global system of interconnected computer networks.  Finally, all limitations to help other living things are removed.  The internet is pretty magic. 

Sounds to me like Twitter was created to facilitate the Dalai Lama’s mission statement:  end suffering in 140 characters or less.

The e-mail from the Twitter minions brought to mind something else about the internet world.  Just how many people know stuff about me?  The Twitter guys know who I follow.  The iTunes guys know what music I buy.  The Google guys know what I don’t know.  The Wikipedia guys know I am gullible enough to believe the Wikipedia guys (see the previous paragraph comprised of Dalai Lama facts). 

Now I lead a preternaturally uneventful life and my deepest darkest secrets include the guilty pleasure of eating food designed for eight-year-olds.  (Froot Loops, they’re not just for breakfast anymore.)  Also, the fact I listen to entirely too many showtunes for a fifty-year-old, happily married, father of three in western Kansas.  (Yes, I even have stuff from Glee on my iPod.  Is there a support group for this?) So the fact chunks of my life are open to those living in the cyber-world doesn’t scare me all the much.  Really, anyone who hacks into my internet browser history would be asleep in the first ten minutes.  After the third story about Jeff Withey’s prowess blocking shots and the fifth blog entry from a guy who wrote for television comedies back in the 80s they might not just doze off, they might start contemplating a fork in their own eye to spice things up a bit.  

Christopher Pyle truly does believe that spreading kindness is important and hopes to end prejudice especially against grown men who listen to Julie Andrews and Brian Stokes Mitchell, on purpose.  He can be mocked at

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