Loneliness in a crowded world

My Sunday afternoons are usually very chill. I often listen to CBC Radio while either baking cookies or watering my plants. Today they had a show on online dating  and the whole thing was depressing beyond belief. It was really about how dating has changed with the advent of technology and the new “rules”, the new social faux-pas of the wireless world, the new “normal”.

Online Dating

I know statistically, there are now more marriages coming out of internet relationships but I wish for every success story they post, they would also show up the statistics of how many connections DON’T work out. That would be more honest and would give people a better idea before they shell out cash for membership fees. Now, I’ve done internet dating and my experience has been that most people unfortunately lie about themselves. I don’t mean the small lies like adding 2 inches to your height, but I mean big lies where they post a photo of themselves from 10 years ago and 100 pounds lighter. Or sexually unfulfilled married men looking for a side-dish of fun with no strings-attached. I think that’s why there are now so many online companies which offer background checks and the sort. There are even online dating sites which “out” bad online daters. (I say if you’re going to put yourself out there, you need to stay safe. Just look at that poor woman who met some guy through match.com and narrowly escaped with her life!)

online-dating-fail

Apparently calling someone to ask them if they want to join you for an afternoon tea is not cool anymore. Social decorum now dictates that you have to text them first or use some form of social media and ask that way first. Voice-to-voice contact is considered too “invasive” and not socially acceptable anymore. Herein lies the paradox that I wish someone would explain to me.

Why does something this simple have to suddenly be a big deal?

Why does something this simple have to suddenly be a big deal?

We’re the most connected species ever. Email, wi-fi, social networks. I mean, we’re literally one step down from mental telepathy in terms of staying connected to each other yet poll after poll shows that loneliness and the sense of alienation and isolation are on the rise. It’s not a secret that I dislike the effects rampant capitalism is having on us as individuals and as a society. The increasing sense of isolation many people feel, the atomization of individuals reducing them to single units so that they feel powerless and disconnected from their workplaces and from their communities. I’m almost positive the rates of depression and mental illness are correlated to this. I hate that.

I remember watching “Happy Days” as a kid and seeing the hang-out that everyone used to go to, “Big Al’s”. You’d just show up and a some friend or other was bound to be there, you’d sit yourself down, gossip and then hatch some crazy plan.

Remember this?

Remember this?

Now I walk into a café and they are all virtually silent. Everyone is too busy looking at their laptops. Myself included.

laptop-coffeejpg-00540482b758b143_large

Nowadays…

I think the longing to belong is one of the deepest, most vital needs we have as humans. We’re social creatures after all. It could be the longing to belong to one person, one group, one family. My future husband Renaissance man Henry Rollins said something which sums it up the best,”Why is it we can fuck but can’t look each other in the eye?”

I’m not a Luddite, I’m all for technology as long as we control it instead of it controlling us. I do think however, technology and all these connective gizmos become one more excuse to hide ourselves from each other. Why?

Valentines day is coming up quickly. Hannah Brencher came up with “The World Needs More Love Letters” project in trying to create community and get people off the false reality of cyber-space.

Untitled-4.jpg

From their “About” page:

“The world doesn’t need another website. Not another network. Not another app.
What she needs is really basic.
Simple. Bare-boned.& often forgotten in the race to get followers. & “Likes.”
Love. Pure, old-fashioned, never goes out of style Love.
Ridiculous, oozing, cannot pack this thang into 140-characters kind of love.
And so we can come in righttttttt HERE.
We’re going to tell you that we write and mail love letters, handwritten love letters, to strangers in need all over the world. We’re going to invite you to request a love letter for someone in your life who needs one. And we’re going to insist that you step out of your own shoes of Comfort & join us. You are going to think we are a bit crazy. A tad loopy. But you’ve been looking for a website that leaks love all this time… so we aren’t worried you’ll leave us.

It’s not about stamps.
Not about stationery.
It’s. about. your. neighbor.

The cracked parts of your own story & how you can use them to lift someone else. It’s about the stranger enveloped in sadness. The chance to pull off Twitter & step away from your networks to turn your best love letter into a lamp… a lantern… to light the path of someone who needs to read it tonight.”

I’ve signed up for it 🙂

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Categories: Ascension, Pop culture, Raise your EQ, This is why the planet is screwed up, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Loneliness in a crowded world

  1. Great post EER. I, like you, am sometimes amazed at how quickly we adapt to new technologies only to find out later on that while they can bring people closer together, they have an amazing capacity to isolate us beyond belief. I feel that because we’re so busy with all our smart objects we’ve forgotten how to interact with one another and it’s become something daunting for the majority of us. The number of times someone could have picked up the phone to tell me something instead of sending me a page long SMS (myself included) is proof that we’re far less comfortable with getting outside our own bubble to reach out and truly interact with others.

    At the same time I think the technological crutch has allowed people to feel that they have the right to be as belligerent and aggressive as they want in cyberspace as long as they’re hidden behind a screen full of bits and bytes. THAT is something highly worrisome.

    • I think that’s the problem with technology, that it can be a double-edged sword and often enough, we can’t anticipate the negative effects of it until long after it’s been accepted.
      I just think that technology is making us more isolated and connected in a fake sense. It gives the illusion of connection but it’s really not there. For me, the illusion is the problem.

  2. kezalu

    The internet is a big lie machine. I saw a program on TV where a woman was conned by an online love and sent him thousands of dollars so he could build an orphanage in some remote country. She also sent him money so he could visit her but he never showed up at the airport. Yet again she sent him more money after he gave her some excuse. She was shown that he was not a real person and that the photo sent to her was of a male model from the UK who didn’t know his photo was being used. This woman knew the truth and accepted it, but loved this dream man ahead of that truth and could not give him up even though she knew he wasn’t real. I think the internet suits a lot of people. They can be who they want. A middle-aged man with a beer belly and no job can be a skinny 21 year old female med student. People prefer the dream.

    I miss the old days of face to face friendships when we were all a bit poor and would have a great time getting sloshed on cheap wine. I’m still getting sloshed on cheap wine, but these days it’s front of a computer screen with facebook pals who I know for a fact don’t look as good as their profile pictures. Everything is false on the net. You can even cyber hug {{{{{{HUG}}}}}}

    What’s it coming to huh?

    • Dating sites are apparently rife with scams and very, very sophisticated ones to. I don’t think the security angle of them is as emphasized as they should be and need to be. I mean look at the ads. They make it look like nothing but beautiful models types are looking, just click , connect and go. They make it look too easy.
      Study after study and poll after poll shows that online profiles amount to nothing in face of genuine chemistry, which is what everyone is looking for ultimately. The person, who you have a certain “click” with. You’ll never know that unless you meet a person which is why I think dating in earlier decades was so much easier, you were usually introduced through friends or family and you’d know right away if that chemistry was there or not.

      • kezalu

        I agree. I saw an ad on TV for on-line dating and apart from there being the usual attractive people, one of the women commented that she had had some of the best dates ever. I find this confusing. Isn’t one best date enough? It seems that on-line dating is not about finding that one true love – it’s a lifestyle.

  3. simian

    You like Henry Rollins too? Cool!!! I was going through a bad bout of loneliness after a break up in the early 90’s and HR showed up to play at the Anson Rooms in Bristol. He was unspeakably awesome. I was choking on some serious anger and that one concert ripped it from my breast in one incredible moment of violent healing.

    On loneliness, I don’t want to be dismissive of the importance of mutual relationships, but I strongly feel the first and most important relationship is with one’s self. I spent 14 months horribly ‘alone’ living in a series of bedsits in London during the 80’s in spite of being surrounded by lots of people including ‘friends’ (I just didn’t identify with anyone). At the time it was terribly depressing but when I look back I am very grateful for having the opportunity to really get to know myself without all the interference of relationships with other people.

    My advice, if you are lonely, then work it for all it’s worth. Because ya ain’t gonna stay that way for long! Once you have plumbed the depths of your darkest nature you will be released to bond with others through a new understanding and love. Stay beautiful!

    • Henry Rollins is “THE MAN” and a fucking genius. I want to have 12 kids with him, if only to offset the stupidness of the herd mentality on this Earth.

      • simian

        Ha ha. I can’t say I have quite the same desire for 12 kids, but the rest sounds groovey.

  4. simian

    Reblogged this on simianpress.com and commented:
    Loneliness, the path to finding love. By Earth Energy Reader

  5. Pingback: Valentine’s Day is for the Hard of Hearing | The Shift Has Hit The Fan

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