Have you read The Tempest? Do you remember the solitary Miranda who has never known any man but her Godlike father? Growing up in blissful innocence far far away from the cunning intrigues of man’s world on a forlorn island that has never known human pollution and has never heard of the endless sad tales of deception, that has never felt the pain of heartbreak, Miranda is as innocent as the island itself. On the humanless shores, she watches the waves come and roar and splash like a ceaseless, boundless, everlasting solitary song but her eyes everyday look in an unfading expectation for a faint sight of a ship on the faraway horizon beyond which she knows is the glittering, throbbing, pulsating world of her fellow human beings.
Why do I tell you all this? Well, because I reopened the doors of the cyber social life yesterday and felt something, which reminded me of the Tempest. I must admit that it disturbed me and i found its teeming streets suffocating. I want to share with you my last experience. — years back, after a set of saddening experiences, when I was at the height of my feverish involvement with this alluring and glamorous world, I suddenly snapped all my contacts with this delirious virtual world that had started dragging me into its heartless, deceptive depths. I do not like to remember that frenzied stormy time anymore. I had entered that world with all the best intentions – to find good friends, revive contacts, and build up a pleasant social circle. But that sudden break off told me everything – about its futility, its cruelty, its unreality. And I understood that all my friends, with scores of friends on their friends’ list, were all equally friendless, lonely and self-deceived. This unpleasant experience made me understand what I always knew – the bitter, undeniable truth of the modern civilization – loneliness and alienation. Each one of us is growing even more lonely with all the modern communication technologies the owners of which claims that it is “bringing people closer.” People come close when they offer their steady hand of friendship, solidarity and help, rather than when they click on the button “accept friendship request.”
It is, I tell you, and pardon me for this, nothing but fooling yourself. For months, I felt like an abandoned house. But tender saplings soon started smiling again on my wan land. I regained my peace and harmony of mind and plunged into the real tangible world of colossal human sufferings and pain and struggle, to reach out to people who needed help, who needed a friend, a sister, a comrade. My wounds healed. I forgot what I had left behind and embraced the new life.
Away, away, far far away from ‘the frenzy, the fever and the fret’ of this noisy and colorful world I lived quietly. No one to drop an easy message, “hi! What’s up?”, no one to rent the virtual air with impotent anger on some political scandal or social injustice, no one crying his heartless heart out for sympathy. Just silence, solitude, an eremitic peace. And believe me – it was beautiful. I would never in my life like to exchange it for anything on earth. On the dim shores of that far-off world I had left behind, I sometimes heard a dull uproar, saw joyous fireworks, and strange clamors that I had once known so well, and I would find myself smiling.
Yes, I lived like Miranda ignorant of all that everyday happened in that glimmering city of lights and sounds. I made contacts with real people who are not posting bombastic pieces on their walls on social issues that fall on the deaf ears of men who do not exist. Man – real man – who is he then?
If your feelings, your sense of right and wrong, compel you to act, to contribute with sincerity towards changing the state of affairs that you find wrong, if you don’t shout aloud and accept in the end by your very inaction like a coward the things against which you had raised you voice, if they compel you to wipe out tears from sorrowful eyes, and shoulder the responsibilities of a hapless father, if your anger makes your tighten your fist for a real fight – I consider you a real man – my real friend and compatriot, I welcome you to my little circle of friends who have pledged to live and die together.