Why do we sift through our messages reading and re-reading, trying to decipher alternate meanings to otherwise basic words?
The human component of expression and body language is dead. We are left to our own devices to interpret emotion from a lit screen.
We are left to feel connected to someone by their ambiguous emails. Does the person you acknowledge even exist, or is it an amped up, or sometimes dumbed-down, version of their true self? They let you see what they want you to see, let you read what they want you to read. This can all be a facade. Or it could all be totally genuine. It is up to us to decide. It is absolutely what we make of it in our minds.
Without the element of spending physical time with someone, you can’t see how they interact with people, animals or real life situations. These are all true indicators of a person’s compassion, heart and mind.
When getting to know someone via the Internet, we lack the ability to have genuine conversation. You don’t know what someone is talking about? Google it, instead of just asking and risk the chance of looking “stupid,” so as to appear that you are at the same level of understanding.
Want to know what their interests are? Visit their social media site. Watch those movies, listen to that music and talk about them instead of learning about something new from them and vice versa. Have the appearance of having similar interests instead of expanding and adding to your own and then sharing.
Write a status update quoting their favorite book and make sure they see it.
In a computerized world, you cannot risk appearing to have opposing thoughts or different interests. Learning and growing is a big part of growing up and forming relationships. But now it is too easy to find like-minded people and feel comfortable with them.
Don’t like the same things? Feel threatened that they know more or less about something than you or have a different opinion on how to preserve energy? No problem, someone else is just a click away.
People have become less empathetic.
Some people have grown into a state of cowardice. With the lack of emotion and ambiguity that words can portray it is easy to be rude, obnoxious, spiteful. You can say what you want without having to see or deal with the hurt on the other end. At the same time, you can say loving, thoughtful, sexual things and not have to deal with the same, or sometimes even mean them in the first place.
People have become disposable. Upgradable, if you will. We look at relationships the same way we look at cell phones or other electronics. You have an iPhone 4? Well now there is an iPhone 5. All of a sudden the 4 doesn’t look that great. So you work hard to get the 5 and you feel really good and excited about it. But now there is an iPhone 6. You had the confidence and will to get the 5, you deserve the 6. Same goes with significant others. This one doesn’t agree with your opinion of Walt Whitman?
A few clicks later, there they are, an upgraded version. A few months and clicks later, turns out you like blondes and there you have it, the 4.0 model of your previous relationship.
Don’t like the choices you have in your town/state/country/hemisphere? Don’t worry, there is a whole world of people out there. Someone is definitely going to be perfect for you. A boundless search. Thank your lucky stars for Google.
Someone annoying you? Ignore their messages. Avoid mutual friends. It’s not like you’ll run into them, you can follow their every move on Foursquare to skirt around any awkward run-ins.
Someone making you angry? Spit off a vengeful message and delete/block their account from your very eyes. You’ll never have to hear from them again or even talk about how to resolve your issues. Phew! Oh wait, they were just being sarcastic? Okay, re-friend them, giggle about it and then learn to read their messages in a more sarcastic tone from here on. Emoticons, am I right?
Is technology really ruining intimacy, changing the art of growing and changing with someone, working on problems, sticking it out, accepting that the other is imperfectly perfect? Or are we evolving to a new understanding that monogamy is just not feasible in a high tech world? That one person can in no way meet all of our needs at all walks of life from here on out? Has it really come down to a science, a bunch of algorithms to find our perfect match?
I want to be wooed. I want to cry out of frustration and happiness. I want to get mad when someone won’t take me out to dinner and laugh about their outfit when they actually do. I want to know someone completely in and out, for better for worse. I want to take the time to learn and do all of these things. Because these are the things that make love real.
Not pictures, not emails, not a face on a screen, not even the word typed out can portray the correct emotion. Because that is what feeling is.
It’s physical, mental and metaphysical. Not logical, standardized and fathomable.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Kathryn Muyskens / Editor: Travis May