Monday, March 03, 2008

On Living Transparently as a Baha'i: God knows, you have an IP address

Living transparently is called for by the Baha'i Writings, it seems to me. Living out in the open, so to speak. Not being afraid. Knowing that people will size you up because you are Baha'i.

Flitzy Phoebie
Story: I have never put a Baha'i bumber sticker on my car in the past because I was afraid that if someone didn't like my driving, it would reflect on the Faith. A few years ago when I decided to put a new engine in my old jalopy of a van I decided the appearance needed some upgrading, too. I could have covered it with Baha'i bumper stickers or made it a moving billboard for the Faith, but instead I covered it with nature decals. If and when I get a new old van for an old man, maybe I'll be ready for the moving Baha'i billboard idea.

Back to my theme. To be transparent is to put your name on your blog, pictures of your house and cat (and car) on your blog, or at least link to your Flickr account. And while you're at it, link your blog to your Facebook, and on Facebook put pictures there, and connect with friends from high school, and join groups that identify you further, and... You get the picture.

The Internet can be a scary place at first, a place where perhaps some anonymity seems called for, but after a while on the web being transparent seems the natural thing to do, especially for Baha'is. Baha'is are all about reputation, their own, and their International Baha'i Community's. The Faith will not grow unless its members are seen as worthy in the eyes of a watching world. Having the courage to put oneself out there for those eyes to see is to live transparently.

If you are still posting with some degree of anonymity, realize that you may have less anonymity than you think. First of all, you have an IP address. If you have an IP address, you are not anonymous. Second of all .. oh, forget about second of all.

Baha'is operate with higher standards than society around them. But even Baha'is can learn a thing or two reading the following. -gw


Anonymous said...

Indeed and more too - see Wikiscanner was quite enlightening about who was editing things trying to stay unknown. covered the development deeply. And now there is German and Japanese version.

You can check many things for oneself. And some things are in fact quiet clean.

Anonymous said...

I would agree, but the internet is a bit too permanent for writing that is usually thought to be as permanent as spoken words. Uninformed thoughts and opinions that you made when you were 16 years old can come back and bite you in the ass. How much would you change your speech if you knew it was being recorded in daily life and then indexed word by word by an instantaneous search engine. If you said none at all, your fooling youself. For some reason, most people don't feel the same with the internet. Also IP address hides you from everyone but the legal system and crackers. A name makes you a google search away.

lev said...

This is beautiful. I'm so excited to watch the informal voice of the Baha'i world emerge on the web. This notion of 'living transparently' is the perfect conceptual lens for it. Thank you!

George Wesley Dannells said...

"The informal voice of the Baha'i world" ... Now that is nice description! We are all on this thing called the Internet together.