Strangers with this kind of honesty make me grow a big rubbery one...
...Or why I came to E2 in the first place.
It's kind of mind-boggling. You can go on the Internet, maybe with some bizarre idea that you'll be able to really talk to people, total strangers, and they will understand you, and you will have real conversations, the kind that you mostly only dream of in the back of your idealism-fried mind. And that is exactly what you get. In real life, this is kind of fucking hard. It is doable, surely. I've done it. We've all done it. Yeah, on a date or something. Or maybe with someone you've known for years. Or with someone baked out of their skull. But these are total strangers, scattered around the globe. And maybe in the back of their head, they've got that same ideal that you do. Hell, maybe everyone does. Maybe it's just that social convention is a huge barrier. Maybe it's because the Internet has no rule or law. Maybe I'm just so fucking isolated, or everyone I meet is a certain kind of person. Who knows? But I think this is kind of magic.
Invite a stranger to discuss metaphysics, or fringe politics, or obscure music, or just stare directly into your soul. They will know whatever you're talking about; it needs no explanation. Experience the dual joys of voyeurism and exhibitionism without even having to die a little bit inside. Live life through the eyes of others, every vicarious thrill of intimate relationships, private thoughts and feelings laid bare. The dying and the newly born, the reserved and the clinically insane, the celibate and the philandering, men and women, straight and gay, transgendered and maybe even hermaphroditic, God willing. Oh yeah, and any religion or lack of religion you could want. Everyone comes here and bares their soul, and it's the greatest thing I've ever read. Same exact reason I can't write a damn thing. It isn't necessarily that words elude me, but that I see how important so many other nodes are, and I can't detract from them. And it's not often that I ever feel like being that honest. (I'm not keen on giving strangers a big rubbery one, in any case.)
Then again, there's also sensitive poetry about snow falling on a tree and shit like that. Actually, I think I've written some of that. That would have been a great idea. Dammit. Some noders' poetry truly is art. It's up there. Maybe Hoagland or McDaniel-level stuff. (Naturally, I use these names because they're the only poets I know and know I like.) There are paintings with words, sublime masterpieces, just there in the aether, with their authors resting behind a veil of anonymity. Without it, I know it'd be hard for me to say much, but then, maybe that isn't the case for all of you. But in either case the inspiration behind that poetry, if it is taken seriously at all, is the exact same stuff that the great prose is made of. All the things that are difficult to share in the open air for the constricting fear of social norms, the essence of one's true nature, maybe the self that lies behind this material veil. It is truth and it is beauty, and after only a few clicks, you can see the connections between that poem and the author's prose, and their childhood memories and treasured loves and actual, literal dreams.
Reading it all sure is cathartic sometimes. I bet it's better than a support group. Sometimes I get bored of it, and I'm not sure whether it's because the truthiness is faltering, or the topics discussed seem far less important, or if it's just that, you know, fuck that. Seriously, all the time? Come on. Everything gets old, and my suspension of disbelief runs thin. Or maybe it's my attention span. My attention span is honestly shit, probably pathologically so.