An issue presented itself this morning where I was forced to scrutinize my association with other occultists. Evidently one of my publisher friends publishes books by members of organizations who are renowned for having questionable beliefs and ethics. It made me wonder how much we’re really judged by association.
I mean really – it would take an irrational person to judge one by casual associations. After all, I have casual acquaintances from all walks of life (and from all political and spiritual spectrums). I can think of far more damning associations than the one mentioned above.
Of course for me the only associations that matter are those of a personal nature, as in — who are you hanging out with in the real world? Or who do you personally correspond with on a regular basis online? For a writer like me – my Facebook associations span far and wide. I have thousands of folks on my friends list – many of them just fans of my work. At what point does my association (even by a mere Facebook friending) become a liability to me (or to anyone for that matter).
As an author, if someone who “LIKES” your fan page or who friends you goes out and commits an illegal act – at what point are you guilty by association in the eyes of those watching? If a fan is a member of a terrorist group or hate group or drug ring, for example – are you automatically deemed a part of that circle by the media or pundits or onlookers? Perhaps if someone is conducting a witch hunt. But for most rational folks – the answer is no.
Of course I normally delete anyone who condones violence or has a lot of hate speech on their wall. I’m just not a hateful person. I’m not a violent person either and I don’t condone it – even in casual association. My friends, my real friends, number around ten, but they’re good people. They’re law abiding, hard working, fun loving folks who are secure in themselves, mentally healthy, and fun to be around. They don’t drag me down. I’d rather be judged on those associations long before I was judged by a casual Internet acquaintance or even some semi-opaque Internet relationship with no footing in the real world.
After all – real friends know more about you than the aesthetics. So if I’m guilty by my mere association with G, then by aesthetics it could be said that we’re all guilty by a few degrees of separation. At least in this day and age of social networking anyway. It’s food for thought.