Each time I visit my blog, I check the statistics page to see how many people from how many countries have visited. It touches my heart and amazes me that, so far, at least one person from 56 different countries from all over our Earth have at least peeked at my blog. I get few comments, so this is my feedback. And I thank all of you for having the curiosity to take a look.
I feel the need to know who, what, why other people might read my essays, my poems, my stories. I feel the need to be beloved on this earth, to feel understood, to feel connected. And I believe that this desire is what drives not only the internet, but above all, drives the human heart and spirit. Otherwise, people would not be glued to their cellphones, tablets, or computers, so fearful of missing a text that hours of precious sleep and dreams are forever lost.
Why is the connection with the Universe less “important”, less desired than connection with invisible people, some or many of them figments of someone’s imagination, over the internet or in cyber-space? Why are dreams, gods, angels, guides, invisible forces less sought after than the approval and love of these invisible strangers?
I think that as human beings, our heritage consists of us being part divine, part earth-bound. We need the experience of our bodies to be validated by heavenly beings. Cultures which promote the knowledge of both domains – our earthy and earthly origins as well as our mythical dimensions – create more balanced citizens who feel naturally at home on Earth and with one another. So modern humans are uprooted and homeless – disconnected from both Mother Earth and from our ancient stories and divine heritage.
Lately, internet hoaxes have received quite a bit of media attention – a rash of individuals appropriating the identities of total strangers in order to garner sympathy of the public – other total strangers. It is in the anonymous nature of the Internet and the dramatic, secular nature of American culture and society so based on entertainment and celebrity culture that encourages this type of behavior. Are we so miserly with our emotional, physical, and verbal language in daily life with those we encounter that a sense of poverty – poverty of love – is driving desperate individuals to seek the attention they need and desire via the Internet and social media? (ie, Warrior Eli / JS Dirr hoax, eagle snapping up toddler in Montreal, Te’O fake girlfriend, etc).
Or is it that community is no longer personal? Emily Dirr of the Warrior Eli hoax claims she began the entire saga as a bored 11 year old over a decade ago. It took quite a bit of energy and dedication on her part to perpetuate the hoax. Why did so many people love and devote energy to the characters Emily created, but describe Emily as flat and bored and friendless in her “real” life? Is fiction more important to us than real relationships? I often read sentimental articles on the web, which circulate widely, shared by “warm-hearted” readers, spreading the love. Why is it so easy to share affection with these strangers? Why didn’t Emily write fiction and seek attention for a symbolic creation, recognition for an artistic talent? I believe that the answer lies in the fact that lying and deception are so central to American life and culture. Making art is so much less important than manipulating others, than rejoicing in the power of moving hearts and minds with the thrill of real time reality. While art does manipulate, it does so with the willing participation of the art patron. We agree to the connection and participate in the art of our own free will, succumbing to the dream, agreeing to step into the experience of someone else’s world. In the event of the hoax, we participate willingly but unknowingly are manipulated. This results in a thrill for the creator. Thus the anger of the betrayed when the truth comes out.
It is easy to speculate. It is easy to love a stranger simplified, idealized, protected from the demons of envy and competition. And why do so many choose to idolize strangers? Is it the dearth of spirituality, the snuffing out of our gods and goddesses of old, the forgotten folk and fairy tales tickling the inside of our collective memories, demanding recognition? I feel that contemporary American pop culture is a gigantic ravenous stomach, hungry for meaning, for love, for poetry, for art. It grinds and churns, chewing up everything in its path, feeding on the junk food of its own production, bypassing the nutrition of real meaning, of real stories.
Living in America is frustrating for a person who is internally focused, because life is so outwardly obsessed, so only outwardly epidermis deep. Culture is as important to the human soul as nutritious food is necessary to the body for health. Belonging and the sentiment of being necessary, beloved, rooted in the earth and in a community are central to being human. This is something that is re-created time and again by humans around the world. When we collectively forget essential parts of our nature, tucking them away into a dark area of our psyche, we lose something so important. The sense of this loss causes us to search desperately outside of ourselves for answers, resorting to extreme measures of manipulation, when, in fact, the answer lies inside each one of us.
Let us try to remember together…