In today's digital age, communicating with someone you never met, solely over the internet or by cell phone occurs more than most of us realize. Just look at your Facebook page, Twitter page, Google+ page, etc' people you probably never met eye-to-eye, could be considered friends, business associates, people who occasionally make you laugh. But what happens when people develop deeper connections with total strangers they never met, can it really be love?
The Notre Dame Football player Manti Te'o has been at the center of a lot of media attention, over his being "catfished" into a phony relationship with a made-up girl he met online, for over 2 years. Catfishing is when someone takes on a false persona online via social networks. Manti Te'o was catfished, then embarrassed to confess up to it, and extended a lie he was too embarrassed to reveal on national television, during a hectic time in his life. But what was interesting to me, is how could someone fall in love with someone they never met in the flesh, and then I thought, pretty easily I bet.
The real people we love in life, depending on communication skills, could replicate the traits we find most attractive in them online or via a cell phone, that have nothing to do with physical beauty. But, even physical beauty can be portrayed online or via a cell phone with pictures and video, or with the sound of someone's voice. We usually love people who are intelligent, witty, compassionate, honest, sarcastic, etc' these are traits one could project online, or over a cell phone conversation, and falling in love can transcend the physical connection ' it always has.
Lusting over someone's physical features is great, but lust is not love, and will not be sustainable if two people commit themselves to each other for the entirety of their lives. Physical affection may also not always be possible as we age with our partner, and as we suffer from disease and crippling conditions, what is left to keep us together? We recognize this as a species, and innately choose partners that we could not live without, because we would miss their thoughts, feelings, emotions, conversations, etc' and these types of traits can also be replicated online.
Moss covered love bug
The environmentally conscious VW love bug of the 1960's continues to provide sustenance, even after it's travel duties are complete. | Bug, Vw, Environment, Moss, Green, Decay,
Ultimately, it is why catfishing even works, because we can deeply connect with another person we never met. The human animal has transcended our physical bodies when it comes to love, and that is super impressive, and gives me a moment to pause on its implications.
Of course this does not mean physical appearance, connection and attraction do not play the other half of the love equation, but even that can be partially achieved online and via a cell phone, without ever being in each other's physical presence. It's a strange world when this type of behavior has become our reality, and if you take a good look around online and offline, you'll find just that - a strange world.
So being duped into falling in love with a made-up person is merely human, wanting to break a stranger's heart when you finally reveal it was all a lie, is something outside of humanity - something we should be focusing on more than the victim, and their unfortunate response to an embarrassing situation.