The General Specific

In between infinity.

Posted on: September 9, 2010

(Don’t be turned off. I have a point!)

Ah, the internet – the formidable ally (and occasionally, foe) of every inhabitant of the 21st century time line. How many times have you gone through the near-death experience of not being able to update your Twitter or checking your new wall posts on Facebook? To go cliché on you, we all know it bridges different cultures and virtually (pun not intended) erases the boarders of the world.

I can’t argue with that, but will you raise your eyebrows when I say that lately, I’ve been seeing the internet in the opposite way? I find that the internet is a double-edged sword – it simultaneously makes easier and makes difficult communication. The obvious reason for saying this is that because the modes of communication has increased exponentially in number and convenience, any idiot could post his brilliant ideas online; and indeed, he does. What you have are very few gems among terabytes worth of mindless babble that don’t count as conversation at all. (Do you feel my arrogance yet?)

The less explicit (and infinitely more mushy) reason is that although it brings you closer to people, it also reminds you of the distance. There are so many things that you would want to share with whoever it is you’re speaking with that goes beyond pixels: the places you go to, the people you hang out with, the food you love eating, the books you always read, your favorite scents – all these tangible things that no amount of talent with words could ever suffice in describing. Speaking with whoever it is through the internet reminds you of that fact, and somehow, that just makes him/her farther away from you than before.

Oh god, I can’t believe I just wrote that. Shoot me now. Moving on.

This makes me think of the whole empathy business. Absolute empathy is impossible, of course, and just like how you could not share an experience in its entirety by writing about it. There’s something vital lacking when the experience isn’t first hand, and this point brings me to something I’ve been discussing (ironically, through emails) with someone lately.

Can a person who has never suffered love virtue as much as someone who has? My initial answer was that someone who has not suffered has the opportunity to love virtue for its own sake, for the sole purpose of it being good, with the help of empathy through art. A certain level of detachment is needed for this because if he has suffered, then his love for virtue will most likely be reactionary.  He said that art (or maybe even empathy in general) could only take us so far; could we really understand virtue without knowing what it’s like in the absence of it? Besides, “not all love born of suffering is reactionary. It is sometimes real.”

( Huh? What cynic? :D )


In Need Of A Miracle – New Radicals

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Look! Up in the sky!

This is the blog of a recovering misanthrope taking up a philanthropic course. I promise neither substance nor relevance. I have my head among the clouds and I do it for the kicks!

Oh right. Hi, I'm Kai.

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