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  • Written by  Jerome Stone
  • // Saturday, 14 April 2012 01:48
Jerome Stone

My Enemy, My Mind: EnemyGraph and Its Implications

(Because this site addresses compassion and how its presence can be invoked through the practice of meditation, I thought I'd come at the discussion from a different angle. Please let me and other readers on this site know what you think. Enjoy!)

Recently I came across an online article about a new application called, EnemyGraph. As the name implies, this program allows its users to declare another person, entity or even an object, e.g., "cigarettes," an "enemy." 

According to the application's website, "EnemyGraph is a Facebook application that allows you to list your enemies. Most social networks attempt to connect people based on affinities, but people are also connected and motivated by things they dislike, which joins them in ways not usually supported by social media platforms. EnemyGraph was developed in Dean Terry's research group in the Emerging Media + Communication program at UT Dallas..."

While EnemyGraph appears benign by nature, the empirical as well as evidence-based science behind our minds shows that what we promote, propagate and reinforce actually becomes stronger. We've seen god-awful amounts of it in the U.S. these days with this election year (makes we want to hurl! [American term for vomit]) as well as in ideological/religious/national conflicts around the world.

Having an "enemy" list only strengthens one's disposition towards viewing another as being an enemy, rather than as another deluded human being with biases, judgements and hang-ups of their own. My enemies, at least as I've experienced them, are simply others who don't support my own self-cherishing and self-promoting ways of thinking, that's all. The more tightly I hold onto "got mine, f-you," the more they become my enemy.

My enemies reside within my mind...to the point that I'm willing to kill them, if need be, to eliminate the illusions that I hold of their wrong doings. WTF! [an American acronym for "What the f*@#"] The more that I think "This person/company/object is my enemy because of how it makes me feel," the more I reinforce within my mind that what I feel is somehow dependent upon something that is external to myself. This externalization of the locus of control of my feelings is the antithesis of what meditation teaches us, that our thoughts and feelings are based upon our perceptions of our external world.

I truly believe that if we could all drop the, "better me than you" attitudes that we engender in our lives, and get a little more of the "how can we cooperate," this kind of EnemyGraph could be a thing of the past.

Right, sure, I know - things like EnemyGraph are harmless little ways of letting off our steam and venting our vitriol; sure - I get it! I'm just not so sure how perpetuating the idea that others can make us happy or sad, and thus are our "friends" or "enemies," helps any of us to crawl out of the self-indulgent holes that we build for ourselves and that I for one find myself repeatedly having to extricate myself from. For me, the best ladder out of my self-dug hole is the practice of meditation and compassion practice, what about you?

How about a "NeutralGraph," or a "So-so" button for people who we don't give a damn about but who, at least, don't threaten our claustrophobic sense of self/me/mine/I??