In between other things I did this year, I went to the Phoenix Comicon, primarily for the purpose of seeing everyone from Babylon 5's cast who is still, um, alive. (Although, true story, Jerry Doyle and Stephen Furst both frankly talked to the crowd about how close they got to that not being true for themselves). It was a fantastic event which unfortunately had too few panels held by cast members (and Bruce Boxleitner didn't even show up because he was "working", pfft), but Claudia Christian had one and she did a great job of answering questions from the audience about her life and about the role that we all knew her for. One of her quotes that has been stuck in my brain for a while was (and I'm paraphrasing badly here):
There's only two things you can't get back once you lose them, and they're your virginity and your reputation.
I don't know (nor necessarily want to know [Unless it's a hot story. I like hot stories.]) if anyone on the O-Deck has lost their virginity to anyone else here, but I know that reputation is something that can be easily lost and takes a while to build back up unless the offender is willing to be humble and the offendees are willing to forgive. Having been online for (almost) 17 years I can admit that there are people online who I am unwilling to talk to. That's just plain the way things are because some people's egos can primarily or only be fed by negative feedback. And I think that that happens to egos because they avoid realizing a simple truth about all of ourselves.
All of us are lovable and capable of being loved. At our core, beneath all the falsities we expose to the world and the calloused exteriors we put on to survive this world of shit, is an amazing product of 4 billion years of evolution that is, by default of being descended from our ancestors, better than every other product before. We're only eukaryotes and are capable of being the awesome multicellular organisms we are because of evolutionary cooperation. We only got these fantastic brains of ours because our ancestors intentionally worked together to survive. Competition is in our nature but so is love and altruism and respect and kindness and understanding for one another.
There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.
Understand that I can never forgive your people for what they did to my world. My people can never forgive your people. But I can forgive you.
I think our secular "purpose" in life is to die with as few regrets as possible. While I don't plan on dying anytime soon, I do want to say that I would vastly regret if this beautiful O-Deck were a place of hurt instead of love.
I'm realizing that I don't know what I want as a reply to this. Frak it. Tell me about something you love. Tell me how it makes your life better. Tell me about the last time you saw a hippo. Tell me about what you would do if you had a million bucks. Remind yourself of why you're a fantastic individual and, if you feel comfortable doing so, share it with the class.