Alterations to unproductive Twitter usage

Recently, a build-up of personal issues compelled me to take a break from social media. In order to exorcise some related demons, I am going to say a few things about why. This is almost certain to alienate a few members of my audience. I do not think it’s healthy keep bottling my feelings indefinitely, though. And if I don’t now set different boundaries to control said feelings, my long-term goals may be aversely affected. So, to tie this discussion to this blog’s usual concerns, I will discuss a few of my convictions re: what contributes to a good human life as per virtues posited by Tenebrous Satanism, and my unwillingness to continue being demoralized by online experiences that oppose those convictions.

Introduction

What follows may sound to some like an exercise in citing grandiose ethical concepts, only to bitch about trivial shit. Understand, though, that I’m someone whose past struggles involve serious mental health issues rooted in overinvestment in social media. Because of that, there’s no way in hell I’d be on here these days if it weren’t for the book. And insofar as I’m thus determined to promote Tenebrous Satanism, I must figure out what’s sustainable for me. Introspection re: one’s limits is, in my opinion, a necessity for any walker of the Sinister path. Such is then what I intend to engage in here. If it irritates you, you are free to not read it.

First, though: a clarification, and a warning…

Clarification re: Facebook vs. Twitter

To be clear, the problems I discuss here are all more re: Twitter than Facebook.

Some FB friends I know in real life are guilty of the things I discuss below. Nonetheless, this is not about you. You see, on FB, anyone in I know in real life who I see doing these things I unfollow immediately. Yes, I dislike your online interactions, but I like you in real life. Therefore, I unfollow, because I want to keep liking you. We see each other in person, we get along, we’re still friends. So, no problem – please don’t make it one.

Here’s the difficulty with Twitter, though. First, I’ll meet people who I find entertaining, have interests in common with, or otherwise like. So we follow each other. But then, I slowly notice over time that they participate in the dynamics I describe below. Because we do have interests in common, and I like some of their content, I don’t want to block, unfollow or mute entirely. If I do, there’s no real-life connection to fall back on, so I’ll lose a promising contact.

I can’t deny though that too-regular contact with certain individuals has been slowly making me dysphoric. I find myself arguing with them in my head automatically, become overinvested in trying to reconcile their perspective with my own, and wind up frustrated because even after making a prolonged, genuine effort to “get” them, I just have to be honest with myself that something is going on with them that I fundamentally do not and cannot agree with. Combine this with external pressures I don’t wish to detail here, and I’m just tired of this level of stress. Something needs to be different, and this blog will be one step toward making it so.

Warning against ill-advised drama

A few notes re: how I will handle any fallout from this entry:

  1. However you may dislike it, I find honest reflection necessary to improve my mental health. This entry is thus a statement about me, personally. It is NOT an invitation to argue about philosophy, politics, what you “actually” said, or how I “should” perceive you. Any conversations of that kind that anyone tries to initiate will be ignored or blocked. I’m already super tired and uninterested in belaboring “your side” of issues when I’ve already decided on disengaging from you.
  2. I am discussing this publicly because I think others may find what I say here worth contemplating. I’m not shaming anyone personally or asking for change re: how they conduct themselves. You are free to say and do whatever you want. I am stating the simple fact, though, that some of these things conflict with my personal ethos. And for that reason, I wish to lessen my exposure to them going forward. My hope is that if we interact constructively about other things, we can continue doing so – i.e. I’ll ignore the contentious portion of your content so long as you aren’t antagonizing me about it in replies/mentions. But if you’re an “all or nothing” person re: people approving of your beliefs and behaviors, then goodbye.
  3. I really, really don’t want to have to block people who have interesting blogs or etc. Or to drive away people who like my blog otherwise. I therefore hope we can just disagree like adults and not start Satanic jihad over it. Accept that these are things that, reasonably or not, do upset me, and that I am human and need to take care of my own mental health. I feel like that should not be so much to ask.

The issues, via Satanic virtue ethics

The fourth tenet of the Tenebrous Creed states that “Self-evolution is fostered by the possession of zeal, wisdom, honor, empathy and perseverance, which Satan therefore encourages us to cultivate.” It’s my conviction, in connection with this, that regardless of specific politics, human happiness is fostered by these traits. Life with other human beings is easier where there traits flourish, and harder where they languish.

Recently, though, I find I can connect each virtue to a front on which I’m dissatisfied with my online experiences. Here, others’ words and actions leave me feeling like a majority is actively hostile toward constructive ideals that I believe in. Then, however, I calm down and realize that no, it’s just a very outspoken minority. And probably there are a whole lot of other people alienated by their antics besides me. Which is yet one more reason for writing this entry.

Here, then, are five things I find sapping my enthusiasm for persisting with social media to promote my book. If you want to dismiss them as “me problems” I’m wrong to call problems with the online ecosystem itself, whatever. I assure those so inclined, though, that I am not the only person who feels this way.

The zeal problem: alienating media discussions

Zeal pertains to pursuit and enjoyment of whatever brings you pleasure. I believe every individual’s bliss in this regard can and should vary. For many, though, the consumption of artistic media is something that contributes significantly to life’s enjoyment. And since humans are social animals, sharing one’s experiences and feelings with others is an inherent part of this consumption.

What I then dislike about online environments is the implicit pressure toward conformity generated by constant repetition of absolutist opinions. An admittedly-trivial example: One gets impressions from the Herd that, because The Movie promotes A Good Thing, we “must” all adore it. If anyone dislikes The Movie, it can only be because they hate The Good Thing. They can’t possibly dislike The Movie for totally separate reasons. Nor can they dislike The Movie because maybe they thought its attempt to do The Good Thing was poorly executed. Conversely, if anyone likes The Other Movie that promotes The Bad Thing, they must be A Bad Person.

The rampant flinging-about of strongly-worded opinions of this kind disincentivizes sharing complex thoughts about artistic works. It also demonizes everyone who doesn’t instantly applaud The Movie (or whatever) without any effort to ask: do the haters all really hate the thing for that reason? Only that one, no other one – every single unhappy fan, as if you’ve met them all and asked them? Oh, but you know this because of Ideology, so you just Know. That doesn’t sound insufferably arrogant at all…

I for one do not just want art that caters propagandistically to my demands, whilst I sit up on my high horse clucking my tongue at anyone whose criteria are different from mine. But I thereby find myself alienated from most people talking about most things to do with media consumption nowadays.

The wisdom problem: refusing introspection

Satanic wisdom first and foremost entails the acquisition of ever-greater self-insight. If you are going to “be your own God,” you had better know yourself pretty well. Toward that end, I expect Satanically-inclined individuals to accept the need for introspection. We all sometimes deceive ourselves, engage in self-thwarting behavior, have shady motives, etc. How are we supposed to overcome this, to know and control ourselves better in the future, if we refuse introspection?

It irks me, then, when I observe people declaring their hatred for a certain account, only to subsequently keep revisiting that account and complaining about it, thereby inflating its presence in both online discourse and one’s own psychic space… but if I even suggest this behavior might be counterproductive, I get shat on for it. Never did I say that I knew for sure that the people doing this were acting in a toxic way. I merely asked the question, and suggested there might be other situations in which we should also ask. But apparently, since these people think they’re Doing Good, no questioning allowed, lest others trying to Do Good be discouraged. And for even promoting the palest shadow of such a risk, I must be A Bad Person.

Such interactions discourage me doubly insofar as my intent was to offer a perspective I myself could have once used. It’s then demoralizing to encounter folks so hyper-devoted to terminally-online politics that the mere suggestion offends them. I offered it in the spirit of “take it or leave it.” But instead of leaving it, they tried to shut it down, which discouraged me from making similarly constructive overtures subsequently. The end result I feel is negative both for me and for my audience.

The honor problem: espousing asshole tactics

Against those who dismiss honor as a privileged, conservative, etc. concept, I define it similarly to how others define justice. Yes, it entails attending to obligations to one’s loved ones in particular, and defending oneself from others’ advantage-taking. But I personally also understand honor as entailing default basic respect and empathy toward all human beings. This forbids such things as judging amid ignorance, treating undeserving parties as enemies, or reducing people to objects.

Online, though, one frequently encounters an attitude of “there are no bad tactics, only bad targets.” I have seen this attitude used to justify baseless slander (a lie doesn’t become true just because it’s about your enemy), ostentatious violations of privacy, wishing harm upon peoples’ families including children, ecstatic celebration of strangers’ deaths, etc. In all instances, “well, they’re my enemy, so they deserved it!” becomes the justifier of all things. Nobody in real life, meanwhile, thinks this edgelord shit is cool, useful or appropriate.

Now, I am willing to respect peoples’ arguments that amid certain power imbalances, some of these things become politically necessary. I ask, though: does you being an asshole on Twitter actually achieve any political goal? And if you were to put what you preach into practice, is that really the best/only way you can “win”?

When I encounter people who soundly and rightly condemn the terrorist excesses of O9A, yet give the impression they would be A-OK with most of those same acts if directed at more “deserving” targets, this sickens me. I am not by any means a pacifist. But I am 100% done with angry children rationalizing their primal hate-tantrums of unimaginative mob-sadism and romanticized violence. People who dishonor both themselves and others with such an ethos are NOT what I want in Tenebrous Satanism.

The empathy problem: demeaning outsiders

I’ve written a lot about this virtue here, but at its core, my definition of empathy is not atypical. It’s strange to me that anyone would treat “let’s try to understand where others are coming from” as a negative. And yet, because it’s Twitter, here we are. I already dealt with the most glaring empathy-related issue I regularly witness above. But there is an additional one I also find really draining, even though it’s not nearly as malignant:

Something one witnesses on Twitter regularly are Ideology-cliques in which high-handed refusal to understand reigns supreme. You don’t already know all the lingo of this circle, and haven’t read all the big names’ works? Clearly, you deserve to be treated as an idiot instead of receiving a patient, useful explanation. You don’t 100% agree with this theorist and are still puzzling out what you actually think? Well, don’t expect any constructive conversation in which you can actually explore ideas around here – we just police against heresy. You’re trying to also explore the thought and discourse of our clique’s enemies in good faith? Obviously that can only mean you are yourself a Bad Person.

Cliques that behave this way also often have the most amazing assumptions re: what should be considered “obvious.” Somehow these people don’t notice they are lazily shaming strangers for not having read the same obscure books as themselves. It also never occurs to them that maybe there’s something unhealthy about how addicted to snap judgments they are acting. Oh, but as per above, how dare I suggest introspection when people are Trying To Do Good here…

Bottom line: if your clique pretends to be thoughtfully intelligent, yet is really just a status-game mechanism masquerading in self-important language, I want nothing to do with it.

The perseverance problem: persisting in misery

Perseverance is a virtue I see as a foundation without which nothing else can proceed. Prevailing through adversity, via discipline to put up with things that are fearful or unpleasant, gets one far in life. I think, though, that there are some contexts in which what people see as perseverance is actually pernicious persistence. They talk as if they must do as they do out of dedication to some cause. Really though, they are putting up with something dysfunctional – and perhaps even ensnaring others in it besides.

This is then another facet of the “sorry for wanting to actually promote self-aware, sustainable engagement” issue mentioned above. I suggest maybe people could be using the platform in a healthier way, and what do I get? Flippancy to the effect of “hur hur, it’s Twitter, of course it’s bad all the time, whaddaya want?” I can’t help noticing, though: this attitude, at the self-same time as one embraces a politics that fantasizes about basically every established system being overthrown? Yet you are unwilling to even imagine freely-acting individual people just using Twitter differently? Like, really??

My perseverance-related complaint here is the implication of “if you possessed the proper political commitment, you would realize any apparent dumb shit on Twitter is actually a manifestation of Good People Trying To Do A Good Thing, and that it’s therefore your duty to put up with it without complaint.” Which is interestingly proximate to what nearly drove me to suicide when I was at my worst: the Herd bellowing that if I do anything other than remain in their midst and gaslight myself into agreeing with everything that they are saying and doing, I fail at Good-Person-dom.

I am not then willing to tolerate this poison creeping back into my life.

Concluding thoughts

It’s unavoidable that everything I’ve said above will come across unfavorably to some audiences. I cannot help feeling trepidation here, given how easy it is for lazy people to tar me as something horrible. I ask those so inclined, though: why are you so determined to be an asshole? Someone admits they are sincerely troubled, and your impulse is to make it all about your ego and your ideology? You cannot just be human for a moment and give that person some fucking space? Instead, you bury commonalities, seeking needless strife as a good in itself, and then wonder why people cut you off? The mind recoils and the head shakes at this sort of folly.

To move forward and reiterate, though: the plan from now on is as follows:

  1. Any offenders of the above, I’ll unfollow. Unless they are mutuals, in which case I’ll cease regular interaction, but may check in for the cool dark stuff occasionally. Again, bracketing the current issues and excepting auto-follow-backs, there was some reason I followed you originally. 🙂
  2. I don’t care what you post on your timeline. But if you antagonize me on my replies / mentions, you are gone. This includes “but I didn’t mean…” or otherwise arguing with my interpretations of interactions referenced above. As the saying goes, “intent isn’t magick.” If you couldn’t stop yourself from being an asshole the first time, no more times is what you get now.
  3. If I ignore you for multiple days after you engage with me about something adjacent to the above, probably I perceive you as in violation of something here. I suggest changing your approach if so. Otherwise you will be blocked shortly.

Hopefully that is sufficiently clear and doesn’t alienate absolutely everyone. Comments on only so long as they stay constructive…

 

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Lucian Draco

    the freetime interim is not to waste with Social Bugs, who lost their Face between a Bunch of Platforms because these mental unadults are actually the first, who lose their Sight, when they are threatened by their own Complaints and their own Insults are eating their Minds without making a single Sound. For me, these Types of People are the worst Case Scenario. They feel strong behind their Monitor or their Interactions as a Smombie. But the falling of their face takes place and marks the Line, when you stand in Front of them and they recognize in that Moment that you are fearless. Their Opinion is nothing worth than a following of Sheeps and never worth a worrying about. Keep up your Strength…

    1. Othaos

      Thanks for the support. “Smombie” = that’s one I haven’t heard before that I’ll have to remember… 🧟‍♂️