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Yin and Yang Feedback

I rarely get feedback on my comix, the TOTD, or any other creative product that I offer up for public consumption. Today I got feedback from two (I presume) different people, neither of whom (again, I presume) have ever contacted me before. One person gave their name, but because they contacted me via private email, I won’t reveal it here.

They said, “I believe your thinking is very congruent to mine, especially wrt phaith. I really like your journal and the way you live.”

That felt good.

I responded via email with, ”Hi [Name],

Thank you for the feedback. I'm happy to get any response to the material I put up on the web, particularly when that response is favorable but even when it's not.

Take care.


Well, having sent off such a pious missive, Loki, the Universe, and/or Synchronicity arranged a little test of my convictions on that score.

The second person to provide me with feedback today posted their comments to my website in response to a comic in which I describe the first damage I inflicted on Space Monkey, our much-loved Lexus RX300.

The comment form on my website contains four fields which this person completed as follows:

Name: Ralph Nader
Email: (field left blank)
URL: http://www.rotten.com
Comments: "a fucking lexus suv is your most prized possesion!?
fucking lame.
Lexus SUV owners better take a deep, long inner meditation before applying Buddhist principles to their expensive toys"

Since “Ralph” didn’t provide “his” email address, I didn’t send “him” a private response. I could post my response on the comic page on the chance that “he” would check back, but what response to post? Two quotes sprung almost immediately to mind, each of which points in the direction of a more developed and specific reply. The first is from Abraham Lincoln:

If I care to listen to every criticism, let alone act on them, then
this shop may as well be closed for all other businesses. I have
learned to do my best, and if the end result is good then I do not
care for any criticism, but if the end result is not good, then even
the praise of ten angels would not make the difference.

The second is from William J. Durant:

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing
to do and always a clever thing to say.

With respect to posting a reply where “Ralph” might see it, I decided to take Mr. Durant’s advice and keep mum. Instead of laying a few Socratic snares or engaging in the no-possible-win activity known as self-justification, I walked away from the computer and plopped down on the couch with Art & Physics: Parallel Visions In Space, Time & Light. In the introduction, I found that the author, Leonard Shlain, uses a quote from William Blake:

“Forgive what you do not approve & love me for this energetic exertion of my talent.”

Aside from a voice in my mind that places some heavy qualifications on the idea of asking “Ralph” to forgive me, I like this third quote the best.

I also made an associative connection between “Ralph’s” judgments and a scene that George Lucas wrote and filmed for Star Wars: Episode 1 but which he left on the virtual cutting room floor. In this scene, Qui Gon Jin breaks up a fight between young Anikan Skywalker and Greedo (the green guy that, years later, Han Solo dispatches in the cantina in Mos Eisley).

Qui Gon Jin: (to Anikan) Why do you want to fight him?

Anikan Skywalker: He said I cheated.

Qui Gon Jin: Did you cheat?

Anikan Skywalker: No, I didn’t.

Qui Gon Jin: (to Greedo) Do you still think he cheated?

Greedo: Yes, I do.

Qui Gon Jin: (to Anikan) You see? Fighting won’t change his mind. You’ll just have to learn to tolerate his opinion.

(Dialog reproduced from memory and probably not verbatim.)


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 22nd, 2002 12:16 am (UTC)
I don't remember how i originally came across your LJ, (probably just hit the 'random' button on livejournal.)

But something about it piqued my interest, and it continues to do so.

I don't always agree with what you post, but your TOTD is almost always interesting and more importantly, always makes me think.

so... thanks. :]

And for the record, i don't understand the fascination with SUV's, but hey, everyone has their own wants and needs... That's what makes us individuals.. it's what makes us all different from each other. (It's also why there are so many different cars on the market... hehe.)
Jan. 22nd, 2002 10:35 am (UTC)
Thank you
Hi BleuLlama,

I like your bio quite a bit. I used to add anybody who listed me as a friend to my friends list, but then when I went to read my "friends" journal entries, I rarely "read" and mostly "skimmed" through the entries looking for the posts by those people who's words, ideas, and images actually provide me with a payoff. So I did some much-needed pruning.

I took one look at your bio and knew that you should be on the list. (Although it seems pretty obvious and redundant to say that you want a rock to wind a piece of string around. I mean, really. EVERYBODY wants a rock to wind a piece of string around.)

I don't always agree with what you post...

Neither do I.

...but your TOTD is almost always interesting and more importantly, always makes me think.

Thank you. That means it's doing what I intend it to do. It's probably doing things I don't intend as well, but there's no avoiding that.
Jan. 22nd, 2002 10:50 am (UTC)
Re: Thank you
I took one look at your bio and knew that you should be on the list.

thanks. It's not necessary; don't feel obligated. I don't really post philosophical things often... most of my posts are just stuff i'm doing, or stupid phrases my brain comes up with. :}

And... You're welcome. I look forward to the TOTD every day.

And I hadn't mentioned this, but I read through a bit of your comic, and although it doesn't particularly click with me, I really do like your unique style of integrating photos, hand-drawn imagery, etc together. It's really neat. :]
Jan. 22nd, 2002 12:29 am (UTC)
I'm wondering if you're asking for more feedback - or just making a statement. I have to say I always look forward to your TOTD - I've yet to see one which didn't make me think and/or examine how I handle things.

I particularly admire the way you handled the negative feedback on your website. I am often in similar situations where I know the best thing to do would be to walk away and "rise above it" - unfortunately, the petulant child within me often wins and I make some sort of sulky comment which I later regret.
Jan. 22nd, 2002 11:06 am (UTC)
Re: Ditto
Hi Zagella-egg-parasite,

I'm wondering if you're asking for more feedback - or just making a statement.

Well, I always crave feedback when I create something new and put it out for others to experience/interpret. I (sometimes) know what I meant to convey with a TOTD, comic, or essay, but I don't know how it comes across to others. That's why I seek feedback. Also, there's still the little kid in me who takes every new drawing to Mom hoping for her praise.

Intellectually, I realize that it's probably to my benefit that feedback comes in as infrequently as it does. It reminds me that the messages in bottles I chuck into the ocean do wash up on other shores. It provides me with the necessary incentive to keep going but doesn't swamp me with a productivity-eroding volume of response or swell my ego to unmanagable levels.

With this particular post, I was looking for a constructive way to express and grapple with the psychic irritation that I experienced when I read "Ralph Nader's" criticism (and when I replayed it in my mind ad nauseam) without digging any of my usual holes.

As for the petulant child, I've got him in me too, and while I kept him in check this time, he has and does get out and run amok from time to time.
Jan. 22nd, 2002 08:01 am (UTC)
You just have quiet fans. :-)
I've seen your "friends" and "friend of" lists. There are people enjoying, and thinking about your TOTD everyday, even if they don't tell you about it. Reading the TOTD is a favorite part of my routine, and I'm never disappointed.

I think you hit on something that one time you posted something personal and got all that feedback. When I read the TOTD, I really want to say something like, "That was great! Thanks!", but I could write that to you everytime you post one, so I don't. I think I've come to take your efforts for granted! :-) It's so good, I forget that it's not mass produced. I forget that one guy labors to create each and every one, and does so for free.

Thank you for the time and effort you spend to repeatedly produce something beautiful and thoughtful, that I get to read and look at whenever I want.
Jan. 22nd, 2002 11:26 am (UTC)
Re: You just have quiet fans. :-)
You just have quiet fans.

Quiet, thoughtful, and kind. Thank you.

I felt really great when I read your message. I don't want to "short" you when you've given me such great feedback. That said, I do need to get to work on today's TOTD. I think portions of my replies to Jerronimo and Zagella apply to your feedback as well, so I invite you to read them and know that I had read your feedback when I wrote them and had it in mind as well when I composed those sentences.

Thank you, once again, for your very kind words.

Take care.

Jan. 22nd, 2002 11:16 am (UTC)
Fighting KMO Comix Comments
I have no problem with people knocking material possessions, I just don't like it when they miss the point of the quote.

And for the record, an SUV ceases to be a toy the moment it picks me up from the ferry dock.
Jan. 22nd, 2002 11:27 am (UTC)
Re: Fighting KMO Comix Comments
You da MAIN, Paul Gude!
Jan. 22nd, 2002 11:33 am (UTC)
Just remember to wait a full hour after the MK-Ultra session before operating a motorized vehical. If you experience missing time, wait two hours.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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