Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Griefers and flaming kittens

There was an interesting conversation in Twitter today around the question "what in Second Life offends you?" Even venerable CodeBastard Redgrave had a limit:
Being spammed with...Zippocat...a picture of a RL kitten, being burned to death by stupid teenagers using Zippo fuel...the fact someone took a real animal, poured gas on it, and burnt it for real.
Offended is an apt word for the feeling we reflexively experience when thinking about someone intentionally burning a kitten to death.
It comes from the latin word offensa, meaning "a striking against, a hurt or displeasure." We experience pain and then mentally strike out to attack and shut out to defend. We clench our fists and close our hearts.

I realize that many people believe that offense is a justifiable response to the malicious actions of others. Although I often react that way, I aspire to meet all experiences with a peaceful mind and heart. I am inspired by people who have met hate with compassion.

The Dalai Lama recounted meeting Lopon-la, a Lhasa monk he knew before the Chinese occupation. Lopon-la had spent 18 years in a Chinese prison before he was released and came to India:
He told me the Chinese forced him to denounce his religion. They tortured him many times in prison. I asked him whether he was ever afraid. Lopon-la then told me: 'Yes, there was one thing I was afraid of. I was afraid I may lose compassion for the Chinese.'
Peace in the face of griefers and distant kitten burners seems a relatively achievable goal.


Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
A beautiful thought experiment personified through the imagined perspective of a self-aware avatar. My creator's site can is at