I might have blogged on this previously, but I couldn’t find it. (HA! I found them here and here. But it is an important subject.) But some interchanges between myself and several other people have prompted me to express my very strong opinion on textual communication and particularly internet romance.
To explain, I take you back millions of years to when man first began. (OK, you should probably be hearing the voice of David Attenborough here.) Man and womankind were build to read the sounds and sights around them in order to survive, and find perfect, or at least the best partners. They did this by watching, smelling, touching and listening. Understanding words was not really so important when you have little more than grunts and over the next few millions of years, we got pretty good at paying attention to what we smelled, touched, saw and heard. Even now, we aren’t to good at dealing with the words we read or hear. A look at the political races should convince you of that.
But words did come on the scene, and thanks to the great Gutenberg and publications such as the National Enquirer and The Globe, the common man and woman were able to have something to read with their coffee of a morning. But these were only words. What is Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public to do without all the sounds and smells and sights that the human being so expertly interprets? Enter the role of the imagination. (Cue, Gene Wilder.) The ingenious human mind stepped up to imagine all the things which the words describe and it worked wonderfully.
OK, so, now we are able, with God’s great beneficence, and whoever is claiming to have invented the internet THIS election cycle, to sit in our homes and read the words written to us in real time by people half way across the world and do what we have learned to do, fill in all the missing bits with our imagination. So now we can know, without doubt, that the wonderful gentleman or lady half a world away is sitting in his smoking jacket stroking his firm jaw, or in her lingerie lightly caressing her nipple, watching intently and emotionally engaged with every word we may express, leaning forward to sincerely express their every emotional state, and not stuffing another french fry into her 300 lb. frame or stubbing out his cheep cigar before calling out to his wife to get him his next beer, as they page through their porn.
I know, I paint a rather negative picture. The point of all of this is that just as we will read the next popular novel, and see, and hear, and smell all the sights and sounds so beautifully described by the author, so too we fill in all the missing elements of internet communication, the sound of the voice, the posture of the body, the gaze of the eyes, the attention, the expressions, the intention of the author of whatever words we read on our computer screen. Our imagination fills it in the best way it can, from all those things that we WANT so much. But it is like filling out a personality profile of someone we have never seen with the answer sheet to our perfect love. They will always be the right answers. I know, it happened to me.
Technology assists us in many ways, but there are unseen dangers there and it helps quite often to just sit back and say, “well yea, we’ll see,” and maybe it is not so wise to run away to find your love, or leave your spouse, or even plan that vacation cross country or to Europe, before you get some practical proof that what you want is what you’ll get.