The is post is an adaptation of Howard Thurman’s “A Strange Freedom”
It is a strange freedom to be adrift in the networked world of profiles without a sense of anchor anywhere. Always there is need of mooring, the need for the feed back that someone has heard you; that you are rooted in a place were others will see you. The urge to be accountable to someone, to know that beyond your screen there is an answer that must be given, cannot be denied. The post a man writes must be weighted in a balance held by another’s hand. The very spirit of a man tends to panic from desolation of going nameless up and down the Google, Spock or Wink rankings, where no Diggs greet and no friendly recognition makes secure. It is a strange freedom to be adrift in the world of profiles.
Always a way must be found for bringing into one’s solitary place the settled acknowledgment from another’s shout out, for getting the quiet sanction of another’s grace to undergrid the meaning of your avatar. To be ignored, to be passed over as of no account and of no meaning, is to be made into a phantom, a thing, not a living being. It is better to be the complete victim of an anger unrestrained and a wrath which knows no bounds, to be flamed and hacked without mercy or battered to a pulp by angry violence, then to be passed over as if one were not. Here at least one is dealt with, encountered, vanquished, or overwhelmed – but not ignored. It is a strange freedom to go nameless up and down the list of social networking platform rankings where no salutation greets and no sign is given to mark the place one calls one’s own.
The profile marks the claim a man stakes against the cyber world; it is the private banner under which he moves which is his right whatever else betides. The profile is a man’s water mark above which the tide can never rise. It is the thing he holds that keeps him in the way when every light has failed and every market has been destroyed. It is the rallying point around which a man gathers all that he means by himself. It is his announcement to all that he is present and accounted for in all areas of interest. To be made anonymous and to give to it the acquiescence of the heart is to live without life, for such a one, even death is not dying.
To be known, to be called by one’s handle, is to find one’s place and hold it against all the hordes of hell. This is to know one’s value, for one’s self alone. It is to honor an act as one’s very own, it is to live that is one’s very own, it is to bow before an altar that is one’s very own, it is to worship a god who is one very own.
It is a strange freedom to be adrift in the social networking world. to post with no accounting, to go nameless up and down the list of other minds where no salutation greets and no sign is given to mark the place one calls one’s own.