Saturday, September 02, 2006

Learning on Ryze

Balla Pillai introduced me to Ryze in 2001, Ryze was new, I couldn't see the point. I didn't join. I did join in 2003. Ryze had been through a big growth spurt, and the networks were buzzing. Generally I found the business focused networks were a waste of time, but the help networks were helpful and the political networks were informative. 500 Citizens was a joy, and Sans Fronteirs was a delight. Then we had an unfortunate election in the USA. The mail on the political networks became accusatory, entrenched and repetitive. There was no discussion going on, only flag waving and banner parades. There was little value in that.

Like others, I've found my experience here has forced me to learn more about things I was relatively uninformed about, Cuba and Venezuela for instance, but also the American political and social system. That knowledge has increased my confidence.

Posting my ideas in a public forum and seeing the response from others, and feeling my own strength in defending my position, has taught me a lot about myself. It's helped me define who I am, and what's important to me. Slowly I've found the courage to say in public many things I've privately come to believe, but I'd never heard expressed. To my absolute surprise I often found other people agreeing with me on those points. It's really encouraging to know that your most wild ideas are not perhaps without foundation, and that in the future some of these dreams might become real.

Posting to Ryze and other networks has increased my ability to put together my own ideas, and to have confidence in expressing them in public. I now know that I can stand my ground when I'm right, and I can concede ground easily and freely when I'm wrong. In both cases I'm a winner. I've been re-educated and I've been able to change my mind about lots of things over time. To some extent that has changed what I think, what I deem to be important and to some degree I guess, who I am.

If you are capable of being non-dogmatic, if you can allow yourself not to know, and keep open the ability to doubt and to reconsider, if you can postpone the desire to choose your "truth" before the evidence is in, these discussions offer you a great deal. You can learn, you can change, you can become more powerful as a person.

John Stephen Veitch
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