The One About… Post and Regret

ZenMaudYesterday, there was an incident associated with the Tao of Maud, the daily inspirational message that I send out across multiple social media platforms.

I use Hootsuite, an application that aggregates mentions of my Twitter ID. It caught a partial tweet from September 25:

@TaoOfMaud Don’t you have any remorse for the fact that you ‘inspirational’ quotes were used by Chris to bolster his belief in…

When I went to look for the original tweet, it had been deleted. Additional digging pointed me toward this Chris. It turns out to be a person – I use the gender unspecific term because that is their choice, to be gender-fluid. However, they also turn out to be reality-fluid. This person appears to believe they have created an alternate anime universe, populated it with characters from different animated properties (among them, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario Brothers, and My Little Pony), added in some original characters, and declared themselves royalty within it.

Okay, just another day on the Internet. However this person swears this place is real, they visit and rule it regularly, and have convinced several people along for the ride. Like almost 24,000. And now this person has started to use the Tao of Maud posts as daily writs of wisdom from On High within that world. Think of it like a prophet interpreting a burning bush sort of thing.

It would be humorous, I suppose, and an excellent way to get some messages to a bunch of people, except I’m not sure the spin being placed on the notes, and the person doing so has been accused of some very unsavory acts, including sexual harassment and sexual battery.

I decided that I needed to deal with this myself in a series of tweets:

Hootsuite caught that on Sep 25 someone posted, then deleted: “Do you have any remorse for the fact that your ‘inspirational’ quotes are being used by @CWCSonichu to bolster his belief in…” It then cuts off. Okay, let’s discuss that.

No, I don’t feel any remorse about any ‘inspirational’ message I send out. The messages are sent out to remind people about the better, more aspirational points of their lives, The same gentle lessons were originally included in MLP – and are all around us in everyday life.

However, whenever messages are put together like this, there is always a chance they will be misused. How many atrocities have been committed in the name of religion? The Bible and the Quran are used daily today to justify treating each other inhumanely.

Do I wish this @CWCSonichu would not misuse my messages? I wish my messages were not twisted by anybody to serve their own purposes. But they would end up finding someone else’s, for that is their nature. Do I condemn them? No. I pity them.

But, as I said when I started, I feel no remorse for sharing these lessons. I had a discussion recently with a senior member of the show’s production team. She thanked me for what I do, reinforcing the positive ideals the show has at its core.

So expect the Tao of Maud to continue, in some form or another, for quite some time to come.

Be well on all your journeys. Namaste.

It is so strange. There is in the Christian Bible, in the Book of Genesis, a verse about evil being used for good:

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20

Yet, as many who read this blog are sophisticated enough to be aware of, there is such a meme as Rule 34.

If something exists, there is pornography of it, without exception.

In other words, no matter what your intention for something, it will be corrupted. No matter how you meant it for good, someone will use it for evil.

In the end, what keeps me from being too outraged is remembering this:

The opposite of a great truth is also true. – Zen Proverb

There is, as always, balance. I will continue to bring good into the system. Someone will always try to introduce evil into it. In the end, the balance is maintained.

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The One About… Values Meals

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Victoria & Albert’s tab, April 2018 (Rich Vogel / Facebook)

Had the most fascinating discussion on Facebook recently.

A gentleman posted his receipt from a few months back for his visit to Victoria & Albert’s. If you’re unfamiliar, this restaurant is a fine dining experience located in the Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World. I’ve never dined there myself, but I’ve been informed it is quite the culinary experience.

Anyway, the post was a revelation. For a party of two, with tax and tip, this bill came to just under $1600. To put that in perspective, that is 2.7% of the Median Household Income in 2016, the last year reported by the Census Bureau.

Reactions ran all across the spectrum, from sticker shock to envy, from agreement on how amazing the experience it was to some people boasting about their ability to do this multiple times.

But one person surprised me. He was one of those multiple visitors to this restaurant, and his response was quite defensive. He stated that those who have never visited it should be quiet because they had no idea what the experience was like.

Now, V&A is obviously a gateway experience, based on wealth. But to say someone shouldn’t be allowed to make a statement is strikingly elitist. And what was more amazing was when I dug a bit further into the identity of the person making this post on Facebook, he was revealed to be… wait for it… the youth minister at a Christian church in Tennessee.

Now, I do not purport to be a Christian myself, but I try to respect the teachings of Christ. Moreso, apparently, than this lay minister, since he’s forgotten Matthew 19:24.

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

I sometimes believe I have a grasp on the modern evangelical Christian movement in America, especially with its preoccupation around the prosperity gospel. Wealth has worked for centuries through various versions of Christianity as a yardstick makes for an easy, tangible measurement of blessings. No matter how many times that message and ideal has been disavowed and chastised by faith leaders throughout the community, it always seems to return. Why?

My best guess is that it is easy to delude yourself while you indulge in $1600 meals that you’re also doing some good on the side – like, oh, part-time work as a youth pastor at a very wealthy, very well-off church. I’m sure he probably donates to just the right charities – not ones that make any real difference, mind you, but ones that make him feel like his avarice is well-earned.

Wealth might open opportunities to experience things in life, but it is your choices among those things that show what you value and make you better. You do indeed have the option to spend $1600 repeatedly on a single meal, over and over, for a couple. Or you could do that once, mark it as an experience accomplished, and then use those funds earmarked on other priorities. For example… how many meals would that $1600 have purchased at the local food bank in your hometown?

It comes down to what you value. Or don’t.

I speak from experience. I’ve made too many bad choices in this lifetime at the height of my own prosperity to know it. Perhaps my mistakes might inform someone else’s choices.

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