Cyberspace and the Material World
I am not sure what that says about the blogging community and cyberspace - or about me as an individual. But it's curious that I have grown attached to people I have not met (for the most part) and people whom I really don't know except via their words on the flickering screen. I take all of you as I find you – and grant you provisional trust (to a point, of course). At the same time, I am keenly aware that who we are in this space may not always jive with who we are in our material worlds – we do not see each other in our entirety – just a speck – just what we allow to spill out on the screen for others to see and interpret.
And even more curious to me is that I have been blogging now with a particular group of bloggers for almost two years. And despite lags and hiatuses, we continue on – floating back and forth from each other’s sites, noodling on each other’s thoughts,offering advice, condolences, jokes, suggestions, reflections, observations.
On the one hand, we often wish each other well; on the other, we often argue vehemently. Case in point would be Aunty Belle – of whom I’ve grown quite fond – which shocks me to the core, since I detest some of AB’s politics and philosophies – yet concur with others. And though I would level her verbally at the drop of a hat in defense of those I love, I can find common ground – something I thought I would never, ever do with one who holds such strong and completely opposite views as mine regarding homosexuality.
I’ve even come to miss our nasty, slavering, over-the-top Hell Pig – who quite infuriates and aggravates me. But where are you Piggy-Poo? Has the great Moby Dick served you your comeuppance?
Are not our exchanges the stuff of intimacy? And yet, we have this buffer, the screen, the keyboard. We hide behind our icons and our blogging personas. And yet, somewhere in all this is indeed a sense of truthfulness, honesty. What an odd mixture this is – of reality and non-reality.
I am grateful for my “real” life in the material world. I was going to say I am grateful that my cyberspace world and friends are an auxiliary to that material life, but that isn’t quite right. Certainly, my material world takes priority – and thank goodness for that – I don’t want my only interests and friends to be online – I need the substantive reality of the material world – the faces, voices, physical presences of people – their words, actions, and touch. This physical world must be the primary place of my life, but I cannot call the cyberspace world merely an auxiliary world. It is something more than that.
Yet I still, after almost two years, cannot accurately define the nature of this venue and the community it creates, nor adequately express how this world connects with the other world (and disconnects as well) and what that really means.
Perhaps I should just stop thinking about it.