I have friends like that—very straightforward and responsible, good at what they do, good home life. But they get stressed and they blow off steam by posting aggressive comments on the web. Their web personality is different from their real personality. They keep them separate. They just laugh and say it’s okay to write whatever you can’t say in the real world, no matter how critical or negative it is. That does seem to be one purpose of the Internet for a lot of people.Kotaro nodded.But I think my friends are wrong. Their posts will never disappear. They think they’re just putting opinions out there. They don’t use real names. They say what they think. They assume no one pays attention for more than a few moments. That’s a big mistake.Most of what goes on the net, stays on the net—somewhere.That’s not what I mean. No matter how carefully they choose their words, whatever they say, the words they use stay inside them. Everything is cumulative. Words don’t ‘disappear.’Maybe they post a comment saying a certain actress should just die. They think they’ve blown off steam by criticizing someone no one likes anyway. But those words—’I hope she dies’—stay inside the writer, along with the feeling that it’s acceptable to write things like that. All that negativity accumulates and someday the weight of it will change the writer.That’s what words do. However they’re expressed, there’s no way people can separate their words from themselves. They can’t escape the influence of their own thoughts. They can divide their comments among different handles and successfully hide their identity, but they can’t hide from themselves. They know who they are. You can’t run from yourself.Mom would say, What goes around, comes around.So be careful, Kotaro. If the real world is stressing you out, deal with your stress in the real world, no matter how dumb you think it makes you look. Okay?
Miyuki Miyabe
The greatest book in the world, the Mahabharata, tells us we all have to live and die by our karmic cycle. Thus works the perfect reward-and-punishment, cause-and-effect, code of the universe. We live out in our present life what we wrote out in our last. But the great moral thriller also orders us to rage against karma and its despotic dictates. It teaches us to subvert it. To change it. It tells us we also write out our next lives as we live out our present.The Mahabharata is not a work of religious instruction.It is much greater. It is a work of art.It understands men will always fall in the shifting chasm between the tug of the moral and the lure of the immoral. It is in this shifting space of uncertitude that men become men. Not animals, not gods. It understands truth is relative. That it is defined by context and motive. It encourages the noblest of men - Yudhishtra, Arjuna, Lord Krishna himself - to lie, so that a greater truth may be served.It understands the world is powered by desire. And that desire is an unknowable thing. Desire conjures death, destruction, distress.But also creates love, beauty, art. It is our greatest undoing. And the only reason for all doing.And doing is life. Doing is karma.Thus it forgives even those who desire intemperately. It forgives Duryodhana. The man who desires without pause. The man who precipitates the war to end all wars. It grants him paradise and the admiration of the gods. In the desiring and the doing this most reviled of men fulfils the mandate of man. You must know the world before you are done with it. You must act on desire before you renounce it. There can be no merit in forgoing the not known.The greatest book in the world rescues volition from religion and gives it back to man.Religion is the disciplinarian fantasy of a schoolmaster.The Mahabharata is the joyous song of life of a maestro.In its tales within tales it takes religion for a spin and skins it inside out. Leaves it puzzling over its own poisoned follicles.It gives men the chance to be splendid. Doubt-ridden architects of some small part of their lives. Duryodhanas who can win even as they lose.
Tarun J. Tejpal