Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Faceless Conversations

Kyle of Postmodern Papist has a post about the facelessness of blogging, and how the sense that one is not talking to a "real person" with a face seems inevitably to lead some people to behave much more beligerantly in the blogsphere than they would in real life.

It was occurring to me the other day that my online activities tend to fill gaps that I experience, from time to time, in my face-to-face existence.

I'd spent a fair amount of time on the early text-only forums and in long term email discussions back in the early-to-mid-nineties, when I was in high school -- to a great extent because my closest friends (those I could have intellectual conversations with) had moved away. During college, I pretty much completely abandoned the internet. But then afterwards, I gradually found myself slipping back into the habit, first on various forums, and later in the blogsphere. MrsDarwin and I, of course, talk all the time, about many of the same topics that end up gracing these "pages". But as our growing family and that of our friends results in our often not getting the chance to get together with other adult friends for a couple weeks at a time, the desire to find other means of conversation is strong.

In this regard, the faceless medium can (with the moral discipline to avoid flamewars) be a benefit in that one is able to toss out subjects for discussion which would be considered rude or threatening among any but the most intimate friends in real life. And indeed, there is a pleasant real-life follow through to such discussions, in that on the occasions that we have had the chance to get together with other bloggers in person, conversation tends to be easy and free even for those who write frequently about their introversion.


Zachary said...

"the desire to find other means of conversation is strong."

That's what the Catholic internet scene offers for me: a chance to have a conversation with people who are actually interested in things that matter. I have very few friends at work who will talk comfortably about politics, religion, philosophy, or music openly or without distress. Far less if it involves pursuing those subjects with someone who they think they might not totally agree with. The people I meet are afraid of confrontation, afraid of disputation, largely because they are afraid of hurting people's feelings (perhaps one of the only secular sins).

Maybe it's a northeastern thing, I don't know.

Enbrethiliel said...


Darwin, if it weren't for the Internet, I'd have no one to talk to about books. At least not the books I like to read. My friend in "real life" prefer different books and can rarely make time to get together and talk, anyway--something which would distress me so much more if I weren't online. In my case, it's a desire to find any meaningful conversation at all.