I use the Internet all the time. Without a doubt it’s a great tool for the dissemination of unconventional ideas that might never have seen the light of day in the D-B-I (the dark and depressing Days Before the Internet), where THE MAN had almost total control over what you could read or watch.
But the Internet was also supposed to be a place where people all around the world could connect to one another in meaningful and personal ways. While this happens on occasion—think about the revolutions occurring throughout the Middle East that have been facilitated by people interacting with one another using programs like Twitter and Facebook—what I’ve noticed is that, for many, the Internet has actually increased feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Despite the occasional success of hook-up sites like Match.com, web-based interactions tend to be totally superficial, because we never really know who it is we are communicating with. The connections we forge with people in on-line chat rooms or as fellow cyber citizens in First Life, can never be truly like the connection we have with a good friend, because the latter sort of interaction is based upon trust, loyalty, and real empathy…three things you really never can get from an on-line relationship.
I think we are poised to see an entire generation of isolated and alienated young people, who have become so addicted to the endless stimuli that the web provides that they don’t even know how to be truly intimate with flesh and blood human beings. Eventually, in fact, the on-line experience will become so hyper-realistic that people will be able to live their entire lives interacting with cyber avatars who will provide all the things we want from a relationship—companionship, the veneer of sympathy and affection, intellectual stimulation…even sex—without all the hassles of having to deal with real flesh and blood individuals.
No matter how realistic we make the on-line experience, however, in the end people will always know that it is an illusion, and this will merely increase their sense of isolation and loneliness. So what do we do about this? We could start now by encouraging the millennial generation to put down their Iphones, Ipads, and the like, get out in the fresh air, and start learning how to relate to other real human beings. But this is not going to happen any time soon. The 20-year-olds are too far gone for that already and probably so too are their equally addicted parents.
So I decided, if you can't beat them, join them. Let’s create an on-line experience of interpersonal intimacy and connection for all those alienated, isolated, emotionally disjointed youth. And better yet, I thought, let’s make it so absolutely positive and life affirming an experience that they’ll leave feeling as though they’ve just had the best relationship of their lives…better than the kind of relationship they could have even with their closest real life friend, since there would be no threat of rejection or criticism. And, finally, let’s have everyone who participates leave receiving what all of us really want from any intimate relationship—the feeling that through a deep and caring connection with another human being, our pain and loneliness has been healed. Interpersonal connection, joy, and healing…What could possibly be better than that?
So, here is the result of these musings on the viciousness and emptiness of the digital age in which we reside—The Intersubjective Nexus Project. Relax, settle in, play the video, and feel all of your woes just slip away. You will feel loved, cared about, wanted…and, best of all, you don’t really have to do anything at all to earn this. Just turn on your computer.
Nexus 1: Freedom from Anxiety
Nexus 2: Freedom from Fear