The Bizarro World We Live In: Strangers Merging Superficial Connection and Vulnerability.
It’s such a bizarro world we live in.
One in which we jump on to a tiny, rectangular computer and scroll through content so vast in volume, we can’t possibly process it all. One in which we see the online embodiment of a stranger we passed on the way to the coffee shop last Thursday after we had to take a walk and clear our head from a morning meeting.
One in which a platform urges us to start a superficial connection with said stranger and read a bullet point list of all the jobs they’ve had in the last four years, the places they’ve lived, their relationship status, all about someone who caught your eye for approximately 3.4 seconds because they had cool jeans, before your mind wandered on to the next observation or introspective subject.
One in which we’re now programmed to browse through a particular set of information carefully curated for a carefully or haphazardly curated online audience of friends according to a title this platform provides us for our connections.
One in which we scroll and semi-curiously learn about someone who means very little to our world, although we’re prompted to make them a part of our world in that pesky “People You May Know” section.
One in which we catch a post about their mother passing, and suddenly this stranger from Thursday has a new dimension. They’re grieving. They loved their mother. They’re from a close family, a spiritual family. They posted a heartfelt tribute that made you cry because it sang with sorrow and rang with joy for a mother and woman who inspired so many to live and love fully.
This is a bizarro world, one in which we pass a stranger and then meet their depth on the solitude of our front porch in the evening, sipping wine and wondering when the bear is coming out tonight to browse through its buffet of alley trash cans. In this world, we wonder if we should know these things about these strangers. If there’s something immoral about browsing through their personal life.
What if I walk past her again on Friday on my daily route to the post office and all I can see is the lonesome tear being held in her eye? The heartbreak at her mother’s passing just a few days ago? Would I want to comfort her? Hug her? Tell her I was moved by a story that the internet told me to read by asking me to click on their picture and scroll the unique sequence of content about their life?
I’d want to. And if I were her, I’d want someone to too.
It’s such a bizarro world we live in, in which we’re asked to be vulnerable and to connect to others’ vulnerability through our tiny rectangular computer, all the while being fed a fear to translate that into life outside of social media.
So, thank you, to those who strive to connect when it’s uncomfortable, and when it’s taboo in person but expected online. Maybe let’s all do that a little more.
Rebekah Kolbe, aka The Moonchilde to her equally eccentric friends, is a writer and newb Yoga teacher in the Michiana area in passionate cultivation of a consciously loving and creative lifestyle. When she isn’t writing sassy and sappy personal essays or exploring esoteric psychology, adoring her loved ones, practicing Yoga, cooking, making music, or walking in the woods, she is working for the creatively philanthropic company called MudLOVE. To get connected to more of her musings, go here.