In real life you probably recognize this bum as the "friend" who's never too shy to ask for a hand with something, but who is mysteriously never home or without prior plans when he might be aware of your need for a little help. Online he's recognizable as one of the many faceless, nameless, silent numbers on a hit counter. Sadly, the world is full of them - the users - the grubs from whom a simple, "Thanks!" is infinitely too much to ask or expect.
I suppose I shouldn't be terribly surprised in discovering a distinct subset of grubs among blog readers - the ingrates who inflate the blogs' hit counters but who are always too busy, too lazy, too uncivil to send a few words in a mail to agree, to disagree, to somehow acknowledge the humanity behind the often very personal words which draw them in and hold their rapt attention. But, I am surprised, because I'd have thought, had I given it any real thought at all, that aficionados of words would somehow be more gracious than their lowly cousins, the picture grubs.
All my adult life I've swung between being naive to an asinine degree and being bitterly cynical. Philosophers often got up their dander in pondering what life in the "state of nature" - the unregulated society - a world without law, without rule - would be like. Aquinas, et al, would contend that in such a state of nature man is only a little less than the angels, while Hobbes and like minded pessimists suggest that life in the state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short. The internet is as close to living in the state of nature as most of us might come. What rules there are, are generally ignored, and there's virtually no de facto enforcement. Online, the faceless, the nameless masses reveal themselves for who they truly are, but they're neither angelic nor demonic. Ladies and gents, prepare yourself for life among the beetles - because most of your neighbors are grubs! They'll hide beneath the soil to eat the garden over which you've toiled by the roots - and when they emerge they'll eat whatever fruit might be there too.
Many 'net users are surprised to discover
that this online mirror works so amazingly well!
Do you see yourself in the picture?