It's easy enough for me or anyone else to just say "fuck him, I'm glad it's over with" and move on, but I've never harbored any ill will toward him and I hope no one else does either. Many of us go through a point where deep soul searching is required, and I think it is past time that Mystic reflects on his own situation, what he really wants in life and how he is going to pursue it. Does he want to be a critic? An analyst? A teacher? Something else? Does he need love? Does he need to create? Both introspection and exploration are necessary to answer those questions. In spite of our disagreements, I sincerely hope that Ben finds what he is looking for.
I think everyone would agree, and I think that the best way for this to happen is for the SRB2 community to demonstrate and live the values that we're talking about. This thread and posts like these are a good start.
Arguing with Mystic in my experience was frustrating, but frankly, the more frustrating thing was how other (non-Mod) community members would act like toadies just to feel they were on the "winning" side. I'm not going to bother pulling up old posts (or even PMs) I received from random community members being extremely hostile and mean-spirited, but I bring it up to just try to clarify the lesson that everyone is talking about.
Mystic was a product of the community.
The SRB2 community. The Sonic online community. The message board dweller community. The nerdy American with nothing else going on & no clear direction to turn community. The edgelord community. Etc etc. Not all of these are organized communities, but they're the kinds of cultures that influence our thinking.
It can be very easy for all of us to point at the "wrong" person in any instance and want to distance ourselves from that. We should resist that urge, and realize that urge is in fact the real problem — our overall cultural reluctance to admit our personal failings — because we're conditioned to believe being wrong is equivalent to stupid or bad character.
IMO, Mystic will be back (if he isn't already under another name). Humiliation is a very powerful tool of change. When you are at 0 in your life, it can later be seen as the beginning of the good times — when you realized you needed to make a change, and begin to build the habits that lead toward a more successful and happier life. But humiliation can sour into resentment and grudges if it seems unjust.
What I don't want to have happen for Mystic is for him to lie to himself, to imagine that there was some... grand conspiracy against him, or that everyone is out to get him. He probably does feel paranoid right now. Who wouldn't? It's hard to accept that we were wrong.
So if/when he does return, and the SRB2 community is living up to these values, then Mystic will learn from the culture how to shape his behavior. That would be the best thing to come of it.
Also I wish everybody had easy access to therapy and that it was destigmatized and understood more. Therapy is simply just examining your own thoughts. Nobody can "fix" you except for you; you can do it at any time - open a Google doc, ask yourself hard questions, try to answer them honestly and don't cheat yourself. But you have to be comfortable seeing the ugly wrongness that is in your brain, in everyone's brain, and have the courage to identify ugliness/wrongness within yourself and then change your behavior from there.
...I've been trying to plant some seeds in the garden. There's a thread in SRB2 Discussion, and a thread in General Discussion, trying to build & strengthen communities ties and demonstrable actions. Would love to see more activity in those threads, and more activity like that.
How can we build this community into one that is built on an engine of Aggressive Kindness? I'm so bored of the "know-it-all dude" type (including myself) ... I want to be (and see) the "don't-know-shit-but-wants-to-help dude" more.
I want Nerds to stop feeling entitled to revenge and start being the "forward thinkers" we're theoretically supposed to be.