Sometimes I find myself so stuck to email — sending people links, suggesting discussions, engaging in dialogue in a sort of virtual world — that I stop and wonder, “What in the world am I doing?” And I’m not even meaning to. I find it sad. There is something about the eyes-glued-to-a-screen-while-typing environment that is very attractive/addictive. Is it because I control things more completely when I am engaging in this email exchange world? Is it because I don’t have to react in real time to someone’s face, someone’s in-flesh expression of their humanity? It’s a virtual life that’s ultimately destructive to me, I think, in part because it’s neglecting of the out-of-my-control nature of relationship. Why is relationship with other humans, those closest to us, and especially with God, a challenge that we have to consciously embrace it and clamor for it and ruthlessly pursue it? One reason, I suspect, is that relationship is fundamentally out of my control.
Unlike this post, which has now occupied about ten minutes. And the control I feel over it is oh-so-gratifying in an oh-so-superficial way. Perhaps instead of retweeting it or commenting on it, it will cause you to close the laptop for a few minutes.
I suppose the same sort of virtual-life dynamic is present when immersing oneself in Facebook, and perhaps to the Nth degree.
Makes me want to write more letters by hand and visit people in person.
(This post is dedicated to my brother David, who doesn’t even have a Facebook account.)