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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Love, Time and Space in the Age of the Internet

Love, Time and Space in the Age of the Internet

Chambi Chachage

The times have indeed changed. So has space. Lovers in a long-distant relationship rarely communicate via landlines and snail mails. New media is the order of the day.

Thanks to the Internet, romantic lovers can even have “lunch over Skype” as a friend lovely put it. Innovation in this great discovery of the turn of the century has opened myriads of ways that those who have access to it can compress both time and space.

This story, however, is not always rosy. The thorny part of the rose is when lovers part ways. Some opt to ‘unfollow’ each other on facebook. Yet because the social media has almost made people ‘omnipresent’, one can hardly run from the shadow of an ex-lover. Once in a while his/her name or image would pop up in a tagged photo, Instagram, forwarded email or a twitter ‘retweet’. Woe unto you when s/he is famous.

Then there is compression of memory/history not least because of Google and other search engines. Things that happened in the distant past are a ‘click’ away as if it is yesterday. Someone who hurt you very long time ago is a 'log/sign in' away. As such the old adage ‘time heals’, let alone ‘distant heals’, is challenged in this time and age.

Thus moving on because an uphill task. Perhaps the best way is for one to come to terms with such a reality and cultivate a cordial relationship with a lost love. But what if the relationship ended acrimoniously? In such a situation some councilors go as far as advising to suspend your social media accounts until you are over the ‘break-up’.

These psychologists are simply adapting their advice to the new setting. But why would someone suspend his/her online life because there is no hiding place? Why should you stop enjoying life because s/he is now here, there and everywhere?

There is a relatively simple way out of being ‘stuck’. It is presented eloquently in the good old book: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

That great psychologist of hierarchy of needs, Abraham Maslow, thus aptly noted this need: “Let people realize clearly that every time they threaten someone or humiliate or hurt unnecessarily or dominate or reject another human being, they become forces for the creation of psychopathology, even if these be small forces. Let them recognize that every man who is kind, helpful, decent, psychologically democratic, affectionate and warm is a psychotherapeutic force even though a small one.” Let’s not ‘block’ love.

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