THE MAGIC OF THE NARCISSISTIC PLATFORM
Sometimes reading can be dangerous to your health. I have a habit of turning on the computer first thing in the morning to read the news and then follow up with my Facebook page. The news is seldom good but I look forward to a little cheer from my virtual friends. They seldom let me down with their YouTube clips or chatter about the ‘Daily Show” or the simple, shared sigh about a dog that chewed their slippers.
This morning was no different. The world was its old, recognizable self. The Republicans were still bludgeoning one another for top place on the election ticket. The Middle East remained in turmoil and the stock market was nervous because of it. But when I turned to Facebook, I discovered the same malaise. One fellow began with Seneca’s remark that we needn’t worry about our future deaths because we die a little every day. What could be more dead than our past he quipped? Another complained that some members of Facebook used the site only to talk about themselves. What kind of social behavior is that, he wondered.
I paused to consider this charge of narcissism? Was it true? Of course it was. It’s Facebook. We’re there to talk about our lives and frankly I enjoy seeing pictures of grandchildren even though we shall never meet. I salivate over recipes I shall never cook and I’m willing to shed a mutual tear for a broken heart.
A few days ago I was chatting on Facebook with a student who lives in India. He confessed he was tongue-tied when he met young, attractive women. I gave him some motherly advice which was probably dated and which he probably ignored. That didn’t matter. We were sharing. He was saying “I hurt” and I was replying “There, there.” Sometimes a small connection halfway round the globe gives us an opportunity to extend a virtual hug.
“A man cannot be said to succeed in this life who does not satisfy one friend.” (Henry David Thoreau)