What you believe can make a difference only if you believe that it will

I received a somewhat disturbing email today, forwarded without any (but presumably would be favourable) comments, and purportedly quoting political content that I perceived as slanted even if not wholly inaccurate.

My instinctive reaction for years has been to immediately delete such mails, consigning most senders to a junk labelled category, and sparing a few out of deference to an existing relationship.

It was only after deleting todays mail that I fleetingly felt my instinctive response did justice neither to my relationship with, nor to my regard for, the sender.

I immediately recovered the mail and started reflecting on what had given me pause.

I certainly owed the sender (indisputably a well-wisher) a more appropriate response; so why was the response not obvious?

Was it that with each passing year we find it increasingly difficult to believe that our beliefs can make a difference to even those whom we know we influence?

That’s surely not a trap that I would like to fall into without protest; so here was my laboured—and deliberately excessively detailed—protest to the sender!

1. The substance of the mail you forwarded was published on an internet discussion group forum titled ‘FunOnTheNetCommunity’.

2. The source of the particular commentary in “This is such a sad commentary on Congress misrule” email, seemingly attributable to ‘Mark Tully’, is actually this post titled “Mark Tully British turned Indian intent on agitating?”, contributed on June 14, 2012, 02:55:49 PM by ‘Seshamurthy’.

3. Seshamurthy has given his own bio-data as:

Name: Seshamurthy
Posts: 25351 (12.342 per day)
Topics started: 5085
Position: FOTN Junky
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Karma: 4514
Date Registered: December 24, 2007, 11:18:43 PM
Last Active: Today at 04:48:07 PM
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Gender: Male
Age: N/A
Location: India
Local Time: August 09, 2013, 05:12:08 PM
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Current Status: Offline
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Signature:

4. Seshamurthy’s post was moderated on behalf of the blog (i.e. cleared for posting as not obviously offensive legally to readers of the blog) by the following three persons:

(i) Name: Cynthia
Posts: 14662 (5.222 per day)
Topics started: 1981
Position: FOTN Hero
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Karma: 1865
Date Registered: December 01, 2005, 05:37:59 AM
Last Active: August 29, 2011, 05:17:30 PM
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Gender: Female
Age: N/A
Location: Jakarta,Indonesia
Local Time: August 09, 2013, 05:18:55 PM
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(ii) Name: *Chinny*
Custom Title: The Woman behind those Beautiful Words…
Posts: 9042 (3.849 per day)
Topics started: 788
Position: FOTN Hero
Stars
Karma: 1634
Date Registered: March 04, 2007, 06:39:27 PM
Last Active: May 30, 2013, 07:35:13 AM
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Real name: Ashtoreth Eros Chinea Yu Rosales Chui
Gender: Female
Age: 28
Location: ShaTin HongKong
Passions: Reading / poetry
Sports/Games: Pool (Billiards)
About Me:
Local Time: August 09, 2013, 05:20:48 PM
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Signature: I Wonder WHY?…

(iii)
Name: Anand VP
Posts: 19648 (8.379 per day)
Topics started: 1741
Position: FOTN Junky
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Karma: 7047
Date Registered: March 09, 2007, 12:32:17 AM
Last Active: Today at 01:54:47 AM
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Gender: Male
Age: N/A
Location: Gorakhpur
Local Time: August 09, 2013, 05:24:27 PM
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Mood: contemplative
Current Status: Offline
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Signature: *”Rising to eminence by merit, you will live respected & die, regretted!”

5. There are 5 comments to this post (not necessarily by regular readers of the blog):

(i) (Two very approving emoticons)

Full of facts! Pseudo-secularism and dynasty politics are bane of India; Mark Tully is largely correct that appeasement of minorities and vote bank politics continue to harm the nation socially and economically.

Re-establishment of Chhatrapati Sivaji’s Hindu Rashtra is the only way out, where all religions will be respected, no appeasement policies or pseudo-secularism will be practised, religious extremism and all kinds of terrorism will be mercilessly wiped out, minorities will have dignified co-existence with the majority Hindus with a sense of pride and spirit of harmony, conversion attempts by dubious means are banned, National security is assured and above all the benefits of ancient Hindu wisdom will be put to use for the benefit of not just India, but the entire world. May the day come soon! May India become once again the beacon of hope for the entire mankind!

+K, Sir!

(ii) (No emoticon)

Thanks Rajasekhar Iyer fr the visit and the add

(iii) (Indulgent emoticon only)

(iv) (Indulgent emoticon only)

(v) (Quizzical emoticon)

shesha u didnt put the source page link?

6. Some unsolicited advice:

Rather than simply forwarding such mail, you should seriously consider directly commenting on the post in the web-page itself (as the above 5 have done), and/or forwarding only the link to the web –page source from where it originates, so that the persons receiving your mail can determine the veracity and authority of the source and its contents for themselves.

7. Why?

That way you will have a chance to strengthen the views of the author if you approve, moderate them if you do not (and, incidentally, avoid antagonising those who hold views that conflict with yours).

8. Cumulatively, such actions impact positively on society as a whole.

Reason: The more approvals on a post, the more likely it is to influence society since the post will be more likely to be given a higher priority (i.e. appear near the top of a search) in search engines such as Google whenever someone searches for a key word that occurs significantly in the post.

9. For instance, this link to a more reliable source for details of Mark Tully and his articles etc. is near the top of any search containing the words `Mark Tully’.

10. Click this link to see the sources for the information on the Wikipedia ‘Mark Tully’ page.

11. Click this link to see the credentials of the persons who have so far compiled and/or edited the data on this page (their bio-data is generally obtainable by clicking on their user names given in each entry).

I conclude that the message John Donne intended to convey by his powerful imagery in `No man is an island’ was perhaps also that:

My life does make a difference to the universe, even if I choose to believe that it doesn’t!

There is even a scientific perspective on this—it’s known as the Butterfly Effect!

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