Once upon a time, because it is foreign to who I am, I thought it would be easy to weed out the individuals with hidden agendas; that spotting the “sincere” ones would be easy. I couldn’t fathom how anyone could in essence, create an entire persona and maintain the facade over a sometimes extended period of time. I just can’t BE other than who selkie IS.
But you know what?
The predators are predators BECAUSE they are damn good at hunting. Excellent at sniffing the naive out of hiding. Masterful at playing the credulous at the end of the line. Which is WHY they are called “predators”
pred•a•tor (prd-tr, -tôr)
1. An organism that lives by preying on other organisms.
2. One that victimizes, plunders, or destroys, especially for one's own gain
That is what they DO, what they have always done.
Sadly, the nature of online interaction lends itself to massive abuse and a slaughter of the innocents.
The reality is that online interaction provides a spurious sense of intimacy, leading to misplaced trust and engaging emotions and feelings that otherwise would remain private. People truly believe that they are being given “glimpses” into another individual’s reality when in actual fact, all that is occurring is that they are swallowing the bait.
They believe that by reading another’s words, they are privileged to learn who that individual is; because they are honest and sincere, they think chatting online is providing them with the ‘real’ opportunity to get to know another’s soul.
But think about your favourite author. You’ve perhaps read every single word that author has written. You’ve devoured his words and even read his biography. Do you KNOW that author? NO, you do NOT. You know what he has written, that is all. Ultimately, you do not know his private thoughts, his hidden agendas, you don’t know the realities of his day to day life nor do you even truly know his personal philosophies. Because what he IS, is a writer, and what he writes are the fruits of a talent with words and a vivid imagination ....
So too is interaction with an online acquaintance. Ultimately, you are seeing ONLY what that person wishes to show. Truth is that you’re only being given a look at one dimension of this individual, the ONLY one he or she is choosing to show you...
The reality is that human beings interpret the world and their place in it through a myriad of senses, not just through their vision and what they read, but through a perception of an individual, the body language, the speech pattern, the actual reality face- to-face “feel” of that individual – all of which sense are useless in pixels.
While I don’t believe every internet relationship is necessarily insincere, I do think once an element of romance, sexual intimacy or something other than friendship intrudes, then trouble is looming.
In actual fact, I have several internet buddies I’ve been in contact with who I consider “real” friends – people whose counsel I value, whose conversation I enjoy, whose opinions and viewpoints I respect. These few people I consider as real to me in terms of honest friendship as my off-line friends. These are people, who should the opportunity arise, I would love to meet up with in real time and I have no fear that my opinion of them would in any manner change or alter. For they, like me, are “real”. They, like me, don’t create personas nor do they have agendas which include the manipulation and destruction of innocents ..
But unfortunately, the predators out there outnumber the sincere individuals.
Be forewarned. Be smart. Be cynical.
And in the end, realize the internet is (in many ways) simply a form of entertainment, a way to while away time when bored (and hopefully when it does not interfere with your real-life obligations), and a terrific way to gain insight and knowledge into other venues you might otherwise have knowledge of. It can be a wonderful tool, one that provides vistas and places you would never in a million years have visited, but remember too that like everything else in life, it has its dark places as well...