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Artificial Intimacy...

This is perhaps the real new AI.  Something that is happening in our relationships as we speak and we know it on some level and perhaps we are not trying to change it because we don’t know how or perhaps artificial intimacy is self reinforcing, the more of it we have, the more of it we seem to crave.  Like an empty vessel that can never be filled, we just keep pouring it in and it just never fills us up.

I am not sure what true intimacy you.  Or even what the “right” definition would be.  But I know it when I have it.  I know when I talk to someone I care about and I feel present, and their pain, and my pain and it is all intertwined and twisted together and sometimes it makes me feel like I might die or stop breathing or something dramatic like that.

For me, intimacy is only felt when both people have a true investment with each other.  I am there because you matter to me, and you are there because you feel exactly the same.  We are showing up for each other because no matter how familiar we might be to each other, we feel like there is always something new to learn, and we crave to learn it.

In a truly intimate connection, there is endless fascination for me.  I want to know more, experience more, be present for more, hear more, see more, do more and feel more.  It is like turning the faucet all the way on and just allowing whatever pours out to just come.

There is this feeling, for me, of removing the barriers of busyness and deep thinking.  I am present and you are present and we are both just there without all the internal dialogue about what is going on.  Perhaps that is the best definition for me:  presence with love and without thought.

Haven’t you ever been with someone and then you get a brief respite and then your mind begins to cloud and close the connection...

What if they don’t feel the same?

What if this isn’t real?

What if I am the only one that feels this way?

What if this ends?

These are the thoughts that trip me up every single time.  And I know that I am not alone on this one.  Truly intimate connection happens without thought or plan or idea.  It is just two souls sharing a connection with each other.  Being present for the pain and the joy of whatever experience is arising for both of you and an ability to communicate a dedication and commitment to showing up in the same fashion again and again in the future.

Artificial intimacy is everything else.  The millions of other chance encounters with strangers, friends, family and lovers alike that are more of a pretense than an actual, real, intimate connection.

All of social media has this artificiality to it.  I mean, I have had some deeply personal and heartfelt intimate connections derived from the internet and social media but that is the exception not the rule.  Most of the like time, we are just liking each other’s shit, moving from one to the next with such rapidity that if we were asked 10 minutes later, we couldn’t even name whose content we even read.  Or what it was about.  Or whether it landed with us.  Or if we even cared.

Remember that game you could play at a fair or carnival growing up...there was this tub of water, and all these floating ducks.  You could grab one as they went past, and if there was a certain number on the bottom you won a prize.  As I recall, you got so many grabs for your money.  So the idea was to grab as many as you could as quickly as you could to better your odds of winning.  

This is what all social media feels like to me.  Except we are all adorning ourselves in our best attire, in our best locales, to attempt to lure you to choose us.  We are all just little blue ducks floating by at a rapid pace, desperately hoping to be chosen, never really knowing what gifts we might could bestow on the next taker.

And so we swim in circles, cyber circles, fawning and preening, waiting for someone to come along and find us interesting enough to select, and then to have enough reward to cause the person to not just immediately drop us back in the pond.  And for some unknown reason, we have come to call this process relating.  When really it isn’t anything more than a carnival game scaled for life.

We know nothing and seem to care less and less about each little duck we select and then carelessly toss back in the drink.  We do not see that our methodology for grabbing and holding is faulty.  We don’t see that our evaluative process is flawed.  We just keep playing the game because the game has become our life in some very real ways.

Have you ever tried to have an intimate conversation with someone who is hell bent on living in the modern superficiality?  It is impossible.  They can’t meet you there.  And my attempts always leave me feeling foolish and chided.  So for some time, I stopped trying but that was equally bad and awful.

So now I exist in this somewhat temporal plane where I desperately want that intimate, deep loving connection with others but I feel myself seeming less and less able to achieve it either because of me or you or both with each passing day.  And so I too engage with the artificial intimate.  And far too many days I call it good.

I take the passing comment and fail to heed it.  Refuse to allow it to really sink in.  I cause myself to become hardened to the accolades or bids for connection because I fail to see their value or the actual sentiment behind it.  I do not respond to people who reach out to me, who are genuine in their bid to connect with me.  I allow busyness or this idea that connection is something that will come later, when I have more time.

Except there isn’t ever more time.  My life is consumed one task, one work call, one chore at a time and I always and perpetually feel like I am running to stand still and being left behind.  The level of anxiety I feel on any given day is immense.  Can I get it all done?  Can I not let the beings that depend on me down?  Will I have time to take care of myself and the ones who need me?  Will I have the time in each day to do the things in my life that make it feel like it is actually my life and not some rented out shell?

Intimacy takes time which is why I think we are all struggling to connect.  We are all too busy and lack time to listen to each other, really hear one another.  To languish in bed with our spouses, our lovers, our most intimate connections.  To just be there and allow the time to pass unbidden, unscheduled and unadorned with the need for anything else.

I have to keep remembering that you are just a little duck too.  You may have outsides that seem to evaluate better or worse than mine...a blemish, a scar, a defect but in truth, we are all just these little ducks, desperately swimming in this pond, the water pushing us forward and past whatever surrounds.

I am not sure how to get out of the game.  I am not sure how to create the space.  I know that I had it yesterday for a moment.  At my kitchen table, over coffee with a woman who is searching for answers and meaning and an exit strategy to a new beginning.

I guess we take our wins where we can find them.  Trusting that if we keep the goal sincere and pure, we find a way to connect in this crazy fucking world that seems to be leaking opportunities for connection and contact.  It is perhaps the most intimate struggle we humans shall ever have...being given so many opportunities that we just let pass us by like tiny ducks circling the loop.



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