In discussions look toward the reality without being self-opinionated. Let no one assert and insist upon his own mere opinion; nay, rather, let each investigate the reality with the greatest love and fellowship. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 177, #581)
Has COVID polarized people’s opinions and increased the number of “trolls” on social media or am I just noticing them now? Perhaps I’m naïve but when I read people’s comments on Facebook (my first mistake), I believe that they are sharing their opinions, and I can accept them as such, even when they are diametrically opposed to mine. Recently however, I’ve learned that some people (referred to as trolls): post things to disrupt or to gain attention; confine their comments to primitive, profane, off-topic observations; spout gibberish in the hopes that they’ll either bore or confuse those with whom they disagree and/or seek refuge in condescending remarks that scorn their critics while continuing to respond to them and put them down. I’m absolutely baffled by this behavior! Apparently they do it for their own amusement, or to push a specific agenda.
As Baha’is, we now know that our job in any discussion is to:
- look toward the reality without being self-opinionated
- don’t assert and insist upon your own opinion
- investigate reality with the greatest love and fellowship
As we’re learning to do these things, we must also train the people around us. We can do this by not replying or attempting to engage in debate with those not willing to behave this way, even on (or especially on) Baha’i forums. By ignoring a troll completely, they will likely become frustrated and go somewhere else. Understanding that not everyone is genuinely trying to find truth in sharing their opinions; and knowing I don’t have to convince them of anything and just leave them to God, lowers my anxiety.
Knowing that my job is to investigate reality with the greatest love and fellowship I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Learning How to Consult Effectively