As far as the internetosphere goes, there seems to me to be two camps of people when it comes to responding to others.
Actually, no - three.
At one end you've got trolls - deliberate antagonists who have bored and small lives and want to fuck everyone up.
At the other end you've got people who may be in opposition or disagreement with another person or group of people but who don't wish to spew their own internal crap over other people who have become their enemy by virtue of the fact that the other people are alien to them in some way, and therefore a threat (we have very flimsy egos in the early 21st century, as flimsy as chiffon which, as an aside, I have been told by reliable sources actually means 'rag' in French. I'm about to get my chiffons has a nicer ring to it, although there's nothing all that romantic about having blood come from your vagina no matter what you call the appendage you use to mop it up so it doesn't spill onto the floor. It is almost unspeakable in many circles, this having blood come from your vagina, being entirely not what some people still would consider feminine, a little vulgar, hence blue liquid. But I digress twice). So these people, though they are disagreeing with someone else, are able for whatever reason (generally self-examination and development of certain social skills) to put forward their view without condemnation or shame because they do not need to use the tools of the Empire ~ violence and oppression ~ in stating their case.
In the middle of trolls and people who can have a view without condemning those who don't are maybe a big lump of people who from what I can see have the mindset of the group above but who actually come across as trolls. They seem to lack the discipline to behave kindly, to live and let live without condemnation because the opportunity to define themselves against someone else so they know they exist is too much. The chance to assauge a tiny bit of the contents of the giant vats of anger and anxiety and ennui which reside inside of them is simply too much to resist. Those vats are huge in most of us. They are byproducts of living in the almost-unbearable-at-times death-throes 21st century. The projectionists.
As far as I can see, there's an opportunity in every encounter that can go either way. You can accept the differences of people and try to overcome whatever fear rises up in you at their differences. Or you can perform the equivalent of online masturbation, or eating an entire block of Snack chocolate, by indulging in projecting your vats of understandable fear onto the person in front of you who has become your enemy by their difference. For you, as for me (particularly if I've hit the PTSD freeze), this feeling about people is a regular occurrence. It's a product of an entire species of tense and/or traumatised mammals communicating with each other in an ever-changing environment the changes of which their evolutionary processes haven't even caught up with yet. It's the product of living in a world where every day we hear of how fucked up it is ecologically (or get to experience it firsthand, if you happen to live in areas that are inclined to the occasional deadly cyclone/typhoon/mass fires/or even ridiculous barometric drops that cover winter and summer in one week (that's us, Melbourne, this week. Have you recovered)?
This fight, between the terrors that fuel our insides and the person in front of us (or in front of us on our screen) is the ongoing fight of the age. The extent of its going on, especially on the net (where we wouldn't dare to speak to people face to face the way some of us do online) shows just how scared we are, and why it's necessary, for our own health and the health of our culture, to continue the ongoing quest to overcome the separation that we feel so often but which, as far as I can see, is really about as thin as chiffon.
Our enemies, whoever or whatever they might be, are an awesome way to discover what is going on within ourselves. Because it's almost a cliche to say that when I hate you, I am really hating a part of myself. Just because it's not immediately apparent what the corresponding part is in you doesn't mean you're not doing it. Something in your shadow, some undeveloped or ignored (whether good or bad) part of you that you fear because of its unknowness, is projected out onto you hating that idiot over there because they are irrational in the face of your cool rationality. Or they are a stupid trump falling for all that left-wing bullshit where you can see the hole they're about to fall into in the road they're taking. Or they're an extrovert who loves partying so they must automatically be a bit dim. Or they believe in God/don't believe in God ~ whichever way that mop flops, if you're a judgmental fundamentalist on the other end then that person is a fucktard who deserves to have their nose wiped in their stupid beliefs, right?
The real interesting part comes when we examine WHY we feel so strongly and react so strongly against people who have views that we consider are really so against the grain that they deserve our contempt and our disrespect (and don't think being polite but yet making snide comments is not a form of shaming and disrespect). Are we really so in the throes of the idyll of control freakness that we think it's all neat and squared away and that everyone is on the same page as us or they should be? Is there any need for everyone to see the world the same way? Where does that leave paradox? What would the world look like if everyone looked just like me? It sounds good in theory but man, what a nightmare it'd be in fact.
I also find it interesting how so often many of us seem most alive when we're defining ourselves against something else. When what I'm really interested in is if people would spend more time explaining and describing their own position, their own take, their own view, whey they hold it, what they love about it, what it does to them, instead of just blathering on against the shadow of what's-not-for-me.
Good discussion in this vid below with Robert Thurman and Sharon Salzberg about Working With Your Enemies, whether inward or outward (facilitated by Robert's own daughter, Uma). The work for the ages ...
<iframe src="http://new.livestream.com/accounts/1249127/events/2592106/player?width=640&height=360&autoPlay=true&mute=false" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"> </iframe>