Fanmail

One of the more humorous aspects of writing as I do is that I occasionally get messages about my writing from others.  To be sure, I would like to get a great deal more messages than I do, but it is gratifying at least to see at least some people read my posts and have a thoughtful reply, and from time to time I like to note such messages [1] and comment at some length about them.  Such is the case with a message I saw last night, which gave a good flavor of at least a substantial proportion of the commentary I receive on my posts:

“Hi Nathan…

Don’t ya just love it?
Of course, I found you through your “Why would anyone want to be one of the two witnesses” blog. And since I’m sowing seeds, I’m throwing a few your way.
Here’s why a lot of people want to be one of the two witnesses…The same reason that a lot of people want to be President of the United States….The same reason that people want to be rock stars, movie stars, this stars, that stars, and the other stars….
EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE “SPECIAL.”
Why? Well, there are obviously a lot of perks to be had. Myself, I never really wanted to be special…until I hit puberty. And then this super-shy kid wanted the girls to chase him like he saw girls chasing John, Paul, George, and Ringo on the Beatles cartoons. (Yes, I’m old enough to remember Beatles cartoons.) I never really lost my shyness enough to approach a girl until I was in my 40’s. And guess what? By that time I was a rock and roll singer!
So, I’m no different than anyone else in most respects. Except for one major respect. For you see, I desire Truth. Without prejudice. But most people don’t really desire Truth, because they instead desire Truth to be what-they-desire-Truth-to-be….and that’s the exact OPPOSITE of desiring Truth, because that’s the desire to LIMIT Truth; the desire to limit the Limitless! And, of course, that is impossible. But it’s a CAUSE that’s not without an EFFECT….
I could write a whole book on this subject, Nathan. And I did! Because, believe it or not (and I don’t WANT you to believe it until you have good reason to) I know the Meaning of Life. And this is why I know that we are experiencing this world (which is our experience of LIMITATION) because, while we were still experiencing the limitless perfection of Spirit, we made the error of WANTING TO BE SPECIAL!
Remember: “I knew you before I formed you in the womb.” But if this idea doesn’t agree with some of your religious beliefs you can begin to see why the Book of Revelation tells us that the two witnesses will be rejected…just as Jesus Christ was rejected, and for the same reason: They don’t come in the expected form, or with the expected message. It takes an open mind to find Truth, because Truth simply can’t flow through any closed doors. And if yours is open, I bring you a blessing, indeed.
The best place to start is at my website A Course in Truth dot com, which has links to my other website, The Holy Grail is Found dot com and my books on Amazon: The Holy Grail is Found and My Rosie and The Holy Grail. 
My God, have I been blessed! And I’m all about sharing that blessing, which is a large part of the reason I have been so blessed.
I encourage you to question me in every which way, because Truth is found through REASON and not blind faith. And it’s no coincidence that the word curious has at its root the word CURE. But I find that most people do not have the level of curiosity that I have. So, I’m certainly not too busy to correspond. Yes, I can assure you that God’s two witnesses are indeed being ignored and rejected….just as God promised! So, no, this job doesn’t have the perks that one might like…unless one is in love with Truth as much as I am!
Peace and blessings be yours!
[Name redacted]”

There is much that could be said about a message like this one.  While I am generally positively inclined to read and review the books that are written by those who send me e-mail, I am rather skeptical of those who claim that they have discovered the meaning of life and adopt such a chummy tone with strangers.  Perhaps I am a bit more restrained and certainly a great deal more prickly than most people are about being treated with respect and dignity, but this message definitely rubbed me the wrong way.  The author’s tone was not the sort that is well-aimed at gaining a positive reading from me.  This is to be regretted, as this e-mail must have taken some time to write.  It is lamentable that someone who evidently wanted to convey a long message and promoting himself as some sort of authority in the matter of dealing with the Two Witnesses and our purpose for existing was so ill-equipped to guess at what approach would be most likely to gain a fair and enthusiastic hearing.

At least a few of these errors deserve to be pointed out, so that future people who wish to write messages to me may profit from it.  For one, as it has been noted, I dislike it when total strangers adopt an air of affected friendliness and intimacy with me.  While I am certainly friendly with other people, I am not the sort of person who is intimate with very many, and certainly not to people whom I do not know.  Perhaps my rather excessive candor online leads people to believe that I am far more warm and easy in my manners than I am, but it should be noted that I am deeply cautious and highly awkward when it comes to intimacy, and that assuming one is an intimate friend or acquaintance is not the best way to go about encouraging me to think well of you.  Also, to brag about your own books to someone who writes at the level I do while not offering to send them for reading and reviewing is in rather poor taste.  I have no interest in buying the books of a perfect stranger, not least one whose tone and bearing is at least mildly offensive.  I may be willing to overcome such offense to read what one has to say and give it a fair and honest review, if offered to me freely.  Third, I really dislike the use of all caps as a style in any book or message that I read.  I am aware that it was a popular advertising style in the 20th century, but I greatly dislike reading it, and my knowledge of its popularity at one time does not matter as I find it greatly bothersome.  I dislike raising my voice, and in interpersonal conversation I have an extreme aversion to arguments and find them deeply unpleasant.  Taken in that light, I view reading someone writing in all caps not merely as an ineffective and obsolete marketing technique that deserves to rest in the rubbish bin of writing but as someone seeking to raise their voice at me, which I view as extremely unwelcome [2].  Again, in my own writing I make it clear that I do not use all caps as a way of showing emphasis, and I strongly prefer that they do not use such a style at all with me.

There is a yet more substantial problem to be addressed, and that is the problem of wanting to be special.  It is deeply offensive when someone openly comments that many people wish to be considered one of the two witnesses [3] because it makes one feel special even if one will be rejected because of mankind’s rebelliousness against God, and then to comment that one has written a book about the “error” of wanting to feel special when one obviously feels special about having discovered the meaning of life and having written about it.  It is extremely unjust to criticize in others qualities that are so obviously apparent in our own life, especially to lack any sort of awareness about the way we come off to others.  I do not think it is wrong for the author to feel special about himself, for I believe that we were all created to feel special, as well we ought since our heavenly Father is the God and Creator of all.  Of course we’re special.  Why feel guilty or insecure about it?  It is the special nature of our purpose and creation that obligates us to treat others so well.  What makes us special as being simultaneously makes a lot of other beings special that we are not inclined to treat so well.  The foundation of our own self-worth is our love and respect for others.  To attack the image and likeness of God is to reject the only claims that we can bring forth for others to respect and love and honor us.  The author seems strangely unaware of his predicament.

The final error I would like to comment on is the author’s false dilemma between reason and blind faith.  A person firmly committed to reason ought to be aware that data and evidence have their limits.  Indeed, our ability to discern evidence itself depends on some sort of worldview that is based on faith.  Do we have faith in our own capacity for rational thought?  Do we have faith in external authority of some kind?  Do we claim to have faith in nothing?  We can assess nothing of what goes on in life without having some ground to stand on.  In that ground we have some sort of faith, although it may not be blind faith, and we should hope that it is not.  It still must be faith of some kind, though, because every proof of logic depends on some sort of unproven but assumed premise(s).  This is even true in Euclidian geometry, perhaps the most rational pursuit most people are remotely familiar with.  Even in the most circumscribed aspect of mathematics when it comes to rationality we still depend on faith, namely the faith in the correctness of our premises, from which we prove theorems and discover corollaries which become the premises for further theorems and so on and so forth.  In no human endeavor is it possible for reason to exist without being dependent on some sort of faith.  Even to engage in communication is to have faith that one can understand others and make oneself understood, something I must admit I doubt on occasion when it comes to dealing with specific people who do not seem to understand or even want to understand, largely because they think they understand everything already.  What faith is more blind and more misleading than that?

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/02/15/better-half-a-loaf-than-none-a-textual-analysis/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/08/25/one-good-reply-deserves-another/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/02/11/how-to-lose-friends-and-alienate-people/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/01/27/on-the-awkwardness-of-apologies/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/01/09/the-endless-volley-or-why-i-hate-the-editing-process-so-much/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/11/07/nothing-would-be-more-natural/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/09/14/hmmm/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/04/16/knowledge-puffs-up-but-love-builds-up/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/07/21/book-review-the-seven-general-epistles/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/01/04/why-would-anyone-want-to-be-one-of-the-two-witnesses/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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