Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You Never Can Tell

A few months ago, I was in a deep jam. I was in trouble. Let's not go there.

Anyway, I was in trouble. Then suddenly, some people I had the most fleeting of encounters online, many, many years ago, just jumped out of the shadows and became Rescue Rangers.

I was amazed. Shocked, perhaps. I had the mental equivalent of sitting down with my mouth gaping as certain things are made good while others are made great.

And I was like, "How did this happen?" Because I make it point to ask the question when good things occur as well as when bad things do.

I remember, vaguely, as a very young man. I was 19 or thereabouts. The Malaysian Internet community was in its infancy. I was hoping to contribute to the general camaraderie and goodwill that I know will sooner or later fade from the Malaysian cyberspace. The spirit that propped up Wikipedia as a monument to humanity's kindness and ability to work together.

So, I was helpful, I guess. I fought the fights at IRC and some forums, questioning the same things I question nowadays. Thank Science I have yet to be THAT jaded.

And when I tire of the fighting and shit-chucking, I would go to some places on the web and try to be as helpful as possible. It was my contribution, and it was insignificant.

Let me explain. I am not someone who naturally seeks 'high school victory'. I did not like my time in high school and that kind of human engineering or politicking seemed to me to be too low on the evolutionary scale. I'm sorry, but I am much too arrogant and proud to sink myself that low.

So I was part of these small, isolated groups. We discussed a lot of things. There was no wikipedia back then, but there was access to some academic papers and journals, as well as Project Guttenberg - an initiative to digitize all works in the public domain.

I had downloaded significant amounts of classical text - all legal and in fact, encouraged.

So, I had something to contribute.

This small, insignificant act was forgotten. At least, I forgot about it.

Well, over 10 years later, a few months ago, some people who were part of these groups contacted me. They had traced and found me. And they gave me some of the best news of the year.

I asked them, "Why do you do all this?"

And they responded something to the effect that when we were all younger, I helped them out with their thesis, so they will return the favour with information that could be useful to me. Information that could affect decades to come.

I was, again, just amazed. Thankful, and amazed. I had thought that I pissed off more people than I could remember, but apparently, I also did some good.

And while some who proclaim to be good samaritans or honourable people, yelling in my ear almost all my adult life, begin to scramble, it is these unknowns who remembered some small, insignificant acts of kindness I did on a whim, and gave me the insight to some of the most important things on my plate right now.

Regardless of how things turn out, I will remember that Science, God, Eywa, Atheismo, whatever, works in mysterious ways. And while expecting returns for your kindness and goodwill is stupid and potentially hypocritical, you never can tell which acts you do will bite you in the ass, and which ones could take you to a whole other level.

It is best, perhaps, not to live life with hatred and evil, as some people have demonstrated to me with their own pathetic existences.

May everyone burn in hell. Except for good people. And NO, you're not one of them.