Good day to all my fellow monks. I am in the process of reading Moths in the Machine: The Power and Perils of Programming by Daniel Kohanski. It is a very astute and incisive look into a world with which most here are initimately familiar: computer programming. However, he offers a philosophical perspective on our art, and brings up some very interesting points. As I was reading, I came upon a passage which stuck me as very familiar as I spend a large amount of time on the Internet conversing with those who I may never know:

"People who would be unfailingly polite to strangers on the street do not hesitate to hurl insults at them on the Internet...It is ironic that the same Internet that allows us to interact with a wide variety of people that we might never otherwise meet also allows (and in some sense even encourages) behavior that alientates all who are not exactly of like mind."

The reason I bring this up here is simple: I know that many of you, like myself, have probably been affected by the situation Mr. Kohanski brings up above - one of alientation as those who don't even know you bring you down ('flame' you) for expressing an opinion or asking a question. Now, I am absolutely not suggesting that this type of behavior is occuring here - as a matter of fact, I bring it up here because quite the opposite occurs in the Monestary. People in the Monestary almost never encounter the sort of behavior that Mr. Kohanski brings up - what I want to know is why? Why can people here be so cordial and polite to each other, and express great comradiere towards each, when others on the Internet act with utter disdain and hate towards each other? What do my fellow monks think about this situation (the alientation of people because of the Internet), and what do you think is the cause for it? Whatever your opinons on the quote above are, I would love to hear them.

I bring this up simply because I see it as a large problem in today's electronic-social world, and I know that the people here must have some very interesting theories on the subject.

Thanks for your time!

r. j o s e p h
"Violence is a last resort of the incompetent" - Salvor Hardin, Foundation by Issac Asimov