If you want to find crazy people, the place to look is "spiritual" groups.
The best sort of spiritual groups to observe just how wacky people can get are of course the Internet lists and forums.
As it happens, I have moderated a spiritually focused email list for the last nine years, and boy, let me tell you, it has been an interesting ride.
Early on I came to the conclusion that such groups were going to be of limited use, for the most part social clubs more than anything else.
There have been several times over the years that I have seriously considered closing the list down, because frankly, it's pretty much a dead end. But there are some people on it that I like and whose conversations I enjoy, so I have kept the list going, though mostly with minimal participation on my part.
Every now and again though, I have to prune the list. The method of doing this is simple, stir the waters, see what kind of craziness floats to the top, and remove it.
I always find this both interesting and instructive.
Over the years I have discovered many thing I would not have known otherwise.
For instance, a large number of trolls originating from the UK are cyber-cross dressers. For some reason there is a disproportionate number of Englishmen who pretend to be women in forums and eLists. I have never been able to find a reason for this statical abnormality, but it is there.
There is one type of person I keep an eye out for, the one kind of personality that will inevitably cause problems and disruption.
This person will always show a particular set of traits. They will be rigid and dogmatic, unable to accept even mild criticism, prone to outbursts of rage if someone does not see their position as "right".
AE Van Vogt, the writer and student of Korzybski, described this personality type, which he dubbed the "Right" Male or "The Violent Man" in a book by the same name.
Van Vogt observed that this was almost entirely a male phenomena, but that was back in the early sixties and I suspect that women have been catching up.
This kind of person is drawn to religion because of their dogmatic nature, and so I have had to deal with any number of this sort of person in the list I moderate, and it is always instructive to deal with them.
They are pretty easy to spot. They do not talk to other people, but rather at them, more making pronouncements rather than conversation. They speak in absolutes and deny that any differing opinion can have any validity. They tend to use "appeal to authority" as a form of argument.
They also are very quick to anger and have no sense of their own logical fallacies. Emotionally, they come across as poorly developed, often showing at best preadolescent responses to other people, especially when not getting their way. Their baseline emotional tone tends to be in the tantrum spectrum.
This time around I found and removed several people who's dogma meters were redlining.
When dealing with a "Right Male" one of the things that happens is a lot of projection. The most common is to try to attribute their desire to be in control to me, often insisting that I want to be a spiritual teacher, the position that they crave more than any other.
One of the ways I spot these people when they pass through the list I run is that they will seek out the perceived "authority figure" and try to play a game of "no, I'm right" to demonstrate to the list members that they are the ones who really have the "knowledge".
One of these people in particular was interesting. In the usual private email diatribe after my removing them I felt like I was trying to talk with a six year old. That sort of emotional dissonance is always telling.
This one person has taken this to an absurd level, not being able to deal with the fact that I didn't accept his evident "rightness", and has become something of a cyber stalker.
He has obviously become so completely at the effect of my not buying into his "Authority" that he has become obsessed with me.
His latest tribute to this obsession is to build a blog to prove to everyone that I am a "Fake Guru". He sent me a taunting letter with the URL this evening.
When I could manage to stop laughing (several minutes) I tried to think of a response that would be appropriate to the situation.
The obvious thing, in my mind, is to make sure that everyone sees his blog. That's what he wants, so I figure I should do what I can to help him out.
So go Check it out and see what he has to say, send your friends there as well, It's the least I can do to help someone who has so much emotional investment in this.
Someone pointed out that the conversation as posted on the Cyber Stalker's page is incomplete, it doesn't show how the conversation started.
Since he "thoughtlessly" neglected this part It seemed important to give people the correct context.
The discussion was on the "Infallibility" of the Quran. It is one that crops up on a fairly regular basis.
My stance has always been that while the Quran is infallible, no one who reads it is so.
The Stalker's post is in red, my reply, which set him off so badly is in green (I do so love color coding)
As salam..Qur'an is the word of God. Mushaf is the (physical) bookTo which I reply,
which contains Qur'an. I dont know other madhabs but for Khanafis
mushaf (in Arabic) is sacred too, such that it should not be read
without ablution. A translation of Qur'an is not Mushaf.
The first time Qur'an was compiled in a Mushaf was during Abubakr's
caliphate on insistence of Omar. When many of the qurra (people who
memorize Qur'an by heart) were killed in the wars, Omar feared the
verses will be lost.
The compilation was done in this way:
1) Only those texts written in presence of Prophet (saw) was accepted.
(two witnesses were required a a proof)
2)The written pieces were proofread by qurraa
After this process, a Mushaf that contained Qur'an from cover to cover
was compiled. This single manuscript was kept by Abu Bakr, and then
Omar and then Omar's daughter Hafsa.
This manuscript was not delivered to other parts of Islamic state until
Uthman's caliphate. Until then people continued to read Qur'an from
partial scripts they reproduced themselves. Minor variations in reading
prompted Huzayfa al Yaman to consult to Uthman for a standardised
reading. Uthman asked the Mushaf kept by Hafsa and produced several
He sent these copies as the only valid text from cover to cover and
officially ordered to destroy all other manuscripts, which were
If there's no way to use it again, the decent way of destroying a paper
on which Qur'anic text written is burning it or burying it. Most
Qur'anic manuscripts were destroyed by burning, but apparently some by
We have such buried partial manuscripts revealed. One is the San'a
script found in Yemen. The Atlantic journal tried to make great deal
out of it. But I will quote the core of the article. I cant see
"Puin, who had been sent by the German government to organize and
oversee the restoration project, recognized the antiquity of some of
the parchment fragments, and his preliminary inspection also revealed
unconventional verse orderings, minor textual variations, and rare
styles of orthography and artistic embellishment. Enticing, too, were
the sheets of the scripture written in the rare and early Hijazi Arabic
script: pieces of the earliest Korans known to exist, they were also
palimpsests -- versions very clearly written over even earlier, washed-
off versions. What the Yemeni Korans seemed to suggest, Puin began to
feel, was an evolving text rather than simply the Word of God as
revealed in its entirety to the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century
Now here is the question.This was his reply (and the point where I decided to prod him a bit to see exactly what was underneath.
Does a bigot read the same Quran as a saint?
I, personally, think that the Quran is the word of God (TM). I also think that no
human reads the Quran except through the filters of his Nafs (ego).
There are as many Quran as there are people who read it. Which one should we
think is the True One?
As salam Mushtaq..By the same token, there are as many Musthtaq hereSo now you have a better context to why I am such an incredibly bad person in his eyes.
as there are people in this list? Which one is true Mushtaq? Or does
it really matter? Everyone lives according to his understanding and
God judges everyone's deeds & intentions. I think that is what
Each understanding has diverse repercussions on the society and on
the world?? Of course, but there is God's continuous creation and
intervention, which keeps it going. For ex., political will of Uthman
which David seems to criticize is the very reason Qur'an is saved.
Early Christians lacked such a political unity until it was too late,
and thats God's plan too. I mean whatever our understanding,
motivations and ambitions are, there is the Divine Plan working..We
are responsible for our own deeds and intentions.
I have also been informed that he is censoring comments on his blog. Hypocrisy knows no bounds I guess (ROTFLMAO)