Just these past few days Tanu, Avi, Maayaa and I, on and off, and in different ways have talked about Facebook and relationships there, with people we meet and those we have never met.
And then yesterday I see Theodore fall in love with his operating system Samantha. In the fascinating, beautiful 'her'.
How true or valuable are these links we build on social media? Are conversations we have with people we have never met an authentic road towards emotional bonding, or is it just casual time-pass? Is physical bonding the only authentic thing - and everything intense on cyberspace a symbol of the vacuity of our times? Does love have to have a physical presence or can a mind and a voice be enough to give your heart away?
Samantha is a consciousness, which evolves intuitively as she gains more and more experience, through conversations. And she is a 'woman' of great depth, sexiness, intelligence and sensitivity. And the lonely Theodore, left devastated by the breakup of his marriage, is drawn to this magnetic hypnotic presence, which converses with ease, understands his needs instantly, makes him laugh, composes music on days of beauty and draws dirty pictures to make him laugh. Samantha might reside in a computer but is the perfect companion. And Theodore, with all the conflicts inside of him relating to this weird relationship, is irrevocably drawn in deeply by Samantha's increasingly irresistible charm.
And, of course, problems start.
I have seen 'breakups' happening on Facebook. I have seen desperation, indignation, anger, between so-called 'strangers' ( who know each other for years), who have found beauty and connection in words and opinions, ruthlessly breakup with digital friends in fits of rage and then show sangfroid in their attitude, and umbrage in the fact that it was just a FB relationship and not a real one.
Isn't there a lie involved there? And ain't words typed out and messaged out, as authentic as words spoken face to face? What is weird about building relations without seeing anyone if words can pierce something inside? And isn't hurt as authentic here or there, if it draws blood?
Scarlett Johansson's Samantha is a beautous 'creature', an incredible amorphous person to desire and spend a life with. She has winsome heartbreak in her voice when she starts off, and deep wisdom in the end. And like everyone whose mind and heart expands as one grows, so does hers. And just the way you can't take for granted a person who holds your hand, so can't you of someone who might well be an OS or on FB.
Authenticity is never on the other side. It resides inside us.