Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Screw Facebook - How about Reallife?

Hey, I've got a novel idea. What if we started one of those "Social Networks" where, you know, people get together and connect. We could actually go and visit one another, enter into each others homes and lives and share on a really deep level. We could talk WITH each other, actually using our voices, our hearts and our ears. We could perhaps reach out and touch each other from time to time - a gentle touch on the shoulder, a tap on the arm. We could look into each others' eyes and feel and really empathize with the other. Instead of collecting innumerable 'friends' we could actually develop friendships! Instead of useless little games or clever little quips, we could establish some real m
eaningful communications. Perhaps if you tell a joke, you could actually hear me laugh. And if I cry, you can feel my pain. Perhaps if you are going to have a baby, I can share in your exultation. Or if I am dying, you can hold my hand as I slip away. Or is this all too real for us?

I know that many people still have actual human friends in form, and that for some, cyberspace is the only thing they have available. But for many, for thousands, even millions, it is beginning to take the place of reallife. You know, it wasn't very long ago, a few years ago, a few decades ago, and for the thousands upon thousands of years prior to that, that ALL friendships were face to face and not facebook. And then we got industrialized. We got corporatized. We got cyberized.

For thousands of years, EVERY child was born at home. For thousands of years, EVERY illness was bourne at home. For thousands of years, ever illness was suffered at home, and for thousands of years every death was mourned at home. Our conversations were long and thoughtful. Or our silence together was deep and fulfilling. Our coffee or tea or beer was brewed at home and the slice of bread we shared was baked at home. Now most people in the west wouldn't know how to do this if they had to. It all comes to them served in styrofoam, or wrapped in plastic, and sealed with a corporate logo. We listen to others music rather than making it ourselves. We watch other people play games rather than playing them ourselves. We watch other people on youtube rather than living dreams ourselves, and we read others little bits of conversations rather than risking unmasking ourselves to another human being.

Yes, we may have 100 or 1000 or more 'friends' out 'there' in cyberspace, but which of them will truly hear you when you need an ear? Who will hold you when you need to feel? Or share a joke, or a secret, or look at you in that way that you know you are loved. Or hated? Bit by bit, (or perhaps byte by byte) we are losing our humanity. And with our humanity, our true spirituality.

One TRUE friend is worth a billion on facebook. I hope and pray that you have such people in your lives. If not, consider coming out to Barnashram. I'll put a kettle on.

1 comment:

  1. I love face-to-face contact, but the internet is surely nice for staying in touch with loved ones and dear friends, eh? I've also learned a tremendous amount from my cyber friends about training my horse and had fun communicating with people all over the world. Do they replace my close circle of friends who I have direct contact with. Of course not. But I think the internet has opened up a whole new way to have 'friends.' I love that I can communicate with people from all over the world every day. It makes for a very rich, varied and often surprising 'conversation'!

    I don't think it's either/or! I do think that people can get very caught by virtual reality and I worry too that it is creating a level of alienation and can create a community that is in fact very superficial.

    There is NO replacing human contact and the kind of transmission and connection that happens with direct contact. But I'd not be so quick to condemn the internet. I've learned a lot from YouTube about training my horse! And it's saving me a ton of money I'd be spending on physical therapy. Yes, there are videos that show me exactly what I need to do to rehab my badly sprained ankle. :)

    LOVE to you!!!!