Soul Jar with Your Name on it

I keep wondering if excessive connections and accessibility is a good thing or bad thing. Because we have the tools to connect so easily it definitely begs the question of “should we?”

The issue I have with it is that it creates these false readings of relationships. Sure someone is twittering to “you” that they went out for a cup of coffee or posting to “you” that they got engaged or showing “you” a video of their baby walking for the first time. These are all intimate bits of a person’s life they are sharing with “you”…so it’s easy to think you’ve developed an intimate relationship with them. But the problem is that they’re not really engaging with “you.”

The ugly truth is that we’re all throwing our voices out there in hopes that someone gives a shit. Some intentions are far more selfish and glory whoring than others but odds are if you put yourself on the net, you at least have an inkling of self-importance that you think what you have to say should be put out there. And sadly, so many really don’t do any of this to make real connections. Or maybe I just have a fucked up definition of connections and relationships.

I have a hard time grasping onto casual acquaintances and casual friendships. For me, I love to dig deep into a person. If I find a friendship I fall in love with, I dig and dig and crawl my way past a person’s skin until I’m inside them. If I believed in a soul, I’d ultimately want to tear it out and put it in a jar for myself to keep always. That is the type of bond I seek. It’s also why it’s so devastating when they fall apart.

But this new generations of connections has me so confused. We probably share more with each other and put ourselves out there more than ever before. However, I keep wondering if these types of connections actually hinder us from digging deeper. We are so obsessed with sharing ourselves and keeping the flow of information streaming that it doesn’t seem to matter if truly gets absorbed just as long as it’s out there. And maybe that is enough?

And then I think, is the communication and information people giving really more than surface, shallow banter? I just want to scream sometimes when I see people barely sharing a few @replies on twitter or facebook for the first time deluding themselves into thinking they are now best friends. Those aren’t real connections, those aren’t real relationships right? Maybe I’m the one who is delusional here. In a world of excess, why can’t I get enough?


Iceflow said...

I thought I was the only person that felt that way about friendships. When I find someone that I have a connection with, it's almost like I want to consume them. But I have to keep myself in check because I know that most people aren't like that.

Especially if my husband and I find couples that we enjoy spending time with. It's tough not to wear them out!

Keep doing your relationships the way you need to. That's my advice anyway.

As far as people revealing all of themselves online these days. I totally agree with you even though I am doing that more and more myself.

mama of 3 said...

Wow. I so love reading your posts because I can totally identify with so much of what you say. I'm caught between the line where I want people to give a shit yet I don't really want to connect with them because we're not really "connecting". It gets all confusing. But I really love that you articulate what Im feeling so beautifully. Love your blog.

Peteicus_X said...

Probably digital friendships & relationships are new ground in human interaction. Really, this has only been possible for a short time. Prior to this, friendships had to occur the old fashion way, mainly.

So, given your frustration with best friends after a minor twitter exchange, yet your love/passion/desire for the meta, where do you fall on this. How do you become real friends with someone digitally? Or do you?

Iceflow said...

I think that not only can you become friends with someone digitally but you can also fall in love digitally. Because behind that keyboard and monitor is a real person with real feelings and opinions.

Without ever speaking a word, I believe that people can form real connections. And I feel that I'm closer to people I have met digitally than in person sometimes. As much as people say that people lie online, I think they speak more truth about themselves and their feelings.

francois said...

"... If I believed in a soul, I’d ultimately want to tear it out and put it in a jar for myself to keep always."

I had a lump in my throat while reading this paragraph, both yomi and spooky.

I go for Sting's song "If you love somebody set them free".

You could try to construct an Holodeck to fool their freedom like in the "ship in the bottle":

But souls comes with too much strings attached to seal the jar. That's our interconnected nature, it's a mess.

It makes me think of a definition that Phillipe Lazar gives of the soul, a podcast which landed on my iPod few months ago (he's a biologist researcher, french):

To cut short he starts with the postulate that:
we "alone" are = a physical body + a "mind"
and he arbitrary calls "soul" the network we each create with others (the relationships, links, memories, representations others have of us)
so an indivdual = [self (body + mind) + network existence ("soul")]
He then explores how this "soul" evolves through life and death (especially how it continues to "exist" after our death in a way) and draws similarities with the spiritual "soul" for example (he's atheist, I'm more agnostic).
Very thought provoking unfortunately only in french it seems.

I guess "life sharing" (a concept pretty new to me) is a natural and enhanced development of this "soul" with anyone feeling to connect (family, friends, even stangers "alike"). I believe in the interest of "sharing" some projects, data and art with strangers (Open Source, Creative Commons, Open Science) to give them a life of their own (improvements, translations, derivated works...). But before you I never been interested to crawl into the being of someone else "digitally". You're so bright and you share so deeply on things I relate to that it's been very delightful so far. I'm just not sure how I will be able to cohabitate with your "soul" *now in my brain*. Grrrr, I hate you Alachia!!! :p

Alachia said...

I think it's pretty difficult to maintain lasting meta relationships. It's just too easy for people to slip in and out of your life. one minute they are there and the next minute *poof*.

I guess maybe meta relationships might be stronger and perhaps even more meaningful but there's such lack of loyalty and commitment from what I've experienced.

One of the most amazing things about quality friendships is that they are usually inconvenient. Meta relationships are all about convenience. With RL friendships, you're forced to deal with issues and problems and each other's daily shit. It's in your face more often than not.

I guess that's what I mean by the soul jar thing. I'm not saying it's probable to capture someone's essence but it'd be great if you could.. if you could somehow force it into a singular, isolated object...but you can't and therefore you must trust that the fragile, volatile vessel it's in will sustain.

Grigori said...

We are all atoms of the universe trying to figure itself out, constantly questioning and indexing, like our own little google searches of life.

Just when you think you have someone all squared away they go and change on you.

But just like many other particles you can't know where someone is and where someone is going at the same time.

Don't try to jar people up Alachia, rather apply your photography interest and take a meta snapshot of these people as they fade in and out of your life.