Dear Ones —

I woke up this morning feeling incredibly grateful to you.

I'm always grateful to you, of course, but this morning my gratitude seemed doubled, and I think I know why.

Allow me to explain. Yesterday I read the article in Vanity Fair that Monica Lewinsky wrote about "The Culture of Humiliation" and the years that she has spent enduring public shame. If you haven't read this article, do read it. It's intelligent and thoughtful and self-accountable and completely absent of cheap self-pity. Her essay holds up a mirror to the some of the most disturbing realities about our contemporary culture of gossip and humiliation. She particularly discusses what a toxic and bullying place the Internet can be. (Monica was the first, but not the last, Internet casualty.) And she is absolutely right: The Internet can be a monster.

Of course, the Internet can also be a place of rich humanity and shared grace — depending completely upon how it's used.

My feeling about the Internet is that it's neither good nor evil; it is deeply morally neutral. It has no consciousness of its own. It becomes what we make of it. It's just a hugely powerful neutral energy source (like the sun, or money) which can be harnessed by humans to either destroy or create.

We blame and praise the Internet constantly for its impact, but when we do so, we speak of it as if it is something separate from us, when really it is just US. It is nothing but a portrait of us, in all our meanness and all our goodness.

So I woke up this morning wanting to thank you all for having made this page, at least, into an oasis of creativity and kindness and positivity. I hesitated for years to sign up for Facebook — afraid of opening myself up to the attacks of trolls and brickbats. But in the year and half that I've had this page, all you have ever offered me is love and generosity, and a willingness to be open and searching, as well as playful and absurd. You are always good to me, and you are always good to each other.

I have come to love it here. I look forward every morning to visiting this page and encountering your voices and your thoughts. The sense of connectedness, intelligence and shared aspiration uplifts me more than you might know.

You took this massive neutral energy source and you shaped into something small and lovely here. That means the world to me.

It's a pleasure to know you, is what I'm saying. And thank you.


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall