I ask myself this question from time to time. The last time was this morning, after receiving the following anonymous comment:
Such a disappointment.. I fully agree with William. Since being introduced to your writing, you have brought many insights into my life that synchronistically spoke to some very trying personal experiences. Aeolus always struck me as someone who was cracking open in the best sense, and hitting on pertinent truths in a way that would help many others embarking on the very same journey. Having said that, this "Dave" business is such a crock of shit that it shocks me to see you falling into it. I trust you still haven't handed the man A SINGLE DOLLAR of yours. You say you aren't "trying to copy him, be more like him" yet several sentences later you say you "represent" him. You seem to be a very discerning fellow and though I gather you've had a very challenging several years (I am Sebastian as well), I will trust that you won't fall too far down this pit before you catch yourself. Fancy semantics and clever touchettes aside, I trust your innermost knows what the fuck it's doing... Good "luck" Jason.Apparently some of my blog readers want to “save” me from my latest “folly.”
I cite this anonymous comment as an example of the most annoying sort of feedback I get. It seems like it is friendly and supportive, but the professed concern is patronizing and insulting, and its function is more to soften me up for the blows than anything. It's based on the premise that I have been suckered and that I need someone who knows nothing about it to tell me how I have been suckered.
What does this person want? It’s a complex question, but it’s a question that ties into the main one: why do I keep up this blog when it’s generating this sort of passive aggressive, uninformed “concern.” First he describes how he has benefited from my insights, after which he accuses me sharply of falling for a “crock of shit.” He doesn’t say why it’s a crock of shit. Apparently stating his opinion strongly enough is supposed to deter all arguments. (That’s called bullying.) His actual intent, however unconscious (and when someone is this angry they usually aren’t very conscious) is to belittle me and put me in an inferior position to himself.
What is he so angry about? Why does he mention that he shares a name with my brother? What is his superiority (combined with a presumptuous sort of intimacy) based on? None of this is revealed. All that is clear is that this person is angry, which means he is afraid, and that his show of concern is just that: a show. It does not extend as far granting me the space and freedom to find myself, but is only an attempt to intimidate me (or others observing) into backing him up in his unintrospected and unproven fears—whatever they may be. (Something to do with being tricked into trusting an untrustworthy teacher/father/brother figure, perhaps?)
This blog offers a service, a free one, and for whatever it’s worth. For someone to benefit from this free service and then to complain about it—to profess to know more than I do about my own “product” (insights)—isn’t just rude—it’s ridiculous. It reminds me of Dylan fans (I was never one) calling him a sell-out for going electric. It’s so illogical, in fact, that there can only be some deeper emotional reaction underneath it. Apparently this person believes, like those angry Dylan fans, that I and my insights belong to him, and is threatened by any extraneous influences jeopardizing his “supply.”
Moving on to the other end of the spectrum, I also receive kind and supportive comments, such as this one:
It's a noble endeavour. As Ray Menezes says, there is no other task more important than getting to the bottom of the this [sic] conundrum. Bravo Jason, if we were sane we'd all be following your lead.Naturally, I agree with the sentiments expressed here 100%. I very much doubt if this person knows any more about Dave Oshana than the other commentator, but then he doesn’t need to. He's not casting judgment on Oshana, he’s responding to what I wrote. He perhaps goes a bit too far with his encouragement, since I don’t want anyone to follow my lead, exactly, although I do want people to think about what I write and apply it to their own lives. (And I am very happy if I hear someone has checked out Dave’s “product”—why, because I think it’s a damn fine product! I wonder if I would get the same sort of flack if I was recommending a friend’s music or art work?)
In a sense, the first comment quoted here, annoying as it may be, is more useful to me, because it underscores the sort of blind prejudice and emotional resistance that exists out there to the idea of enlightenment, and/or the possibility that it might be a real goal—one which we can be guided and supported towards by others (even at a price—shock, horror!).
I don’t want to make this about Dave Oshana. Really. But anyone who reads this blog who then comes to me with allegations, accusations, or simply voicing their skepticism about him is wasting their time. Why? Because if they want to find out about Dave, they can go directly to his site, online classes, or book a one-to-one with him, and find out for themselves. And if they already know it’s a crock, because it’s so obvious, then instead of trying to save me from my naiveté, hey man, just go back to your early Dylan records, and enjoy the memory of better days.
The person you thought I was, and any the insights you thought I had for you, never existed. There is only this moment. And right now—Aeolus is going electric! (Not literally; I left my guitar in Guatemala.)