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Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Internet Romances- The Brain in a Jar Theory - Part One

The internet has had a huge effect on dating but not necessarily a positive one. I'm not talking about FINDING a date online, but rather communicating with a potential date online for days and weeks before even meeting the person or speaking with them on the phone. I have heard about many couples hitting it off online only to be very disappointed after only one or two dates. So what happened to that sparky connection the two people had going prior to their "real date"? Was it an illusion?

I'd say yes and no.

Sometimes email, IM, or even blogging allows us to be the best part of ourselves- smart, witty, honest, and unselfconscious. Anonymity, or at least a screen to hide behind enables us to be free from the things around us- family, past relationships, money, life circumstances, even the one hundred plus pounds of meat we drag around with us 24/7.
We are essentially a brain in a jar.
The same person who feels free to flirt or plan the future over the internet may actually be shy, or awkward or terrified of commitment in real life. I've seen it happen even between couples that DO see each other in real life. A person may act one way on line and another in person. The person is not being intentionally deceptive; it's just that on line he is free, and in person he is faced with his own weakness and fears. One might say that the brain in a jar is actually the truer self, but what good does that do you when you can't "be yourself" in the real world?

Another issue is that there is a lot of information you can't access over electronic communication so people search for commonalities and then extrapolate themselves right down the aisle.

Somegrrrl83: OMG I can't believe you like REM, macaroni and cheese, and TORAH too! This is amazing!
Someguy81:Wow, yeah it's like we're the same person.
Somegrrrl83: What number am I thinking of right now :)
Somegrrrl83: OMG! You got it! This is sooooo scary.
Someguy81:That is freaky. We should definitely meet.
Somegrrrl83: The Atrium, June 20th?
Someguy81: OK wear something white :)

With so little information available a person can fill in the rest with him hopes and dreams making the actual flesh and blood person pale in comparison.
Still, the connection is there on some level- the question is, what it takes to bring that spark into the real world.


At 10:28 PM, Blogger Michael said...

What happened to Orthomom?

At 11:09 PM, Blogger Eliyahu said...

maybe that star trek transporter (beam me up) would work....or what about those phermones? maybe it points out the role of fantasy in maintaining lust. the brain, i've heard, is the most erotic body part. (although looking at it sure doesn't do anything for my pulse rate.)

At 9:23 AM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

for shame. Shifra writes a great post and all you guys can do is talk about orthomom (she's back up).

Shifra, ths is really terrific. Where's part two already. Come on, internet time moves fast. (how's the puker feeling?)

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

Thank you SW! My daughter is back to normal and I'm at work feeling sick as a dog.

I'll get to part two but I wanted some feedback first :)

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Eliyahu said...

"...what it takes to bring that spark into the real world.....", not orthomom, was my reference. and, yes, this is a great post, and one with nuances in life beyond the internet (which may not be much if bill gates has his way.)

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Eliyahu said...

shifra, have you tried the norton anti-virus? that, and lots of water may help.

At 9:58 AM, Blogger orthomom said...

Hey, what's wrong with worrying about me? Suddenly I'm chopped liver? But seriously, Shifra, great post!

At 10:07 AM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

"the brain, i've heard, is the most erotic body part."

I got kicked out of yeshiva for passing around a copy of "Neurology Today" to my horny teenage friends.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Eliyahu said...

sw, must have been the articles! LOL

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Hello Shifra,
The Blog-degrees-of-seperation bring me here. Great stuff.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

Still Wonderin'
was that the swim suit edition of busty brains?

At 11:01 AM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

It was the Annual MENSA edition

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Passionate Prodigy's

(or is it prodigies?)

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

Welcome JPT, and thanks!

The jewish world is very small and the Jewish blogging world is smaller still.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

Shifra, you're being too nice. JPT is banned until he modifies his post. his last post is from May 20, which is inexcusable. harumphh

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Duude said...

Don't forget, when you meet someone that you only spoke to online, even if they sent you a picture, you might not like the way they look physically, and even the smartest people, who preach the "look for inner beauty" thing, still doesnt't work in practice, we like looking at attractive people, that's also a reason why online dating doesn't always work,

I'm not saying this as a general rule, just applies some times...

Great post though!

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Very true Duude, but most people who believe in cosmic connections also would like to believe they are above judging people based on looks.
It often doesn't work that way but the brain in a jar keeps hoping it will...

At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm thinking of running dating site purely for the disabled

dating singles

At 11:13 AM, Anonymous pharmacy wiki said...

Yeah, well I like to meet people through internet because they can't get into my private life and you can talk with them of anything, I don't have problems meeting people and less talking, I can talk to anyone of anything I don't care, but when people "gain" some trust they think they can criticize you... that's why I like internet no one will criticize you ever.


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