I am listening to This American Life episode #317, “Unconditional Love.” It is amazing. Love starvation is a killer. Doing without love and touch and fellowship is a sure way to die. Look at all the lonely people.
I believe I know how loneliness feels but I have always had loads of friends, be they real or virtual — generally both.
They started the episode discussing the globally-famous research of monkeys with mothers made of warm cloth or cold wire. To me, even virtual, second life, anonymous, and digital connections, touch, passion, and story telling are at least a very reassuring and comforting, loving warm cloth mother to world citizens that could’ve and would’ve been much more lonely and starved for love.
The second segment discusses a boy who was born into a Romanian orphanage, devoid of connection and love. Kids as daffodils, kids as cabbage. The mother doesn’t ask for love, in the piece, but for attachment. To combat his detachment disorder. She was able to ultimately create trust and attachment but then she earned love.
In terms of trust and attachment for the deep fringe of the world who feel detached from the people around them, the online world — the Internet — offers amazing opportunities to discover birds-of-a-feather and then build trust, attachment, and love.
That is why, when corporations, big business, PR, advertising, and marketing companies that don’t get it try to break into online forums, message boards, email lists, blogs, and virtual world, they quickly come away bruised, shamed, humiliated. Why? Because they had all done the equivalent of walking into a locals-only honky tonk bar as a yankee WASP: the music stops and all eyes are on him — he’s not welcome and neither are you as you enter hot and heavy into someplace you don’t belong and you’re not welcome.
People have true families, true attachments, and complete love loyalty. The virtual online world is far from virtual and suffused with realy people in love and community, who are willing to do whatever’s necessary to take care of one-another.
Can the chosen meatspace and digital, virtual, tribes act as healing balms for those of us who feel ignored, unloved, disconnected, or alienated from their families of origin? I daresay I believe so from the bottom of my well-loved and well-cared for heart.