A Lot of Our Closest People Have Turned Cyborg
How technologies of fake intimacy kill real friendships
I join John DeVore, Stephen Moore, and Matthew McFarlane in bemoaning the onset of Meta. The last thing we need is another ill-conceived way to leave reality behind. But to be honest, some of my friends have already left the building.
After years of swiping left, thumbs-upping, and IMing on digital platforms that value clickability over humanity, a lot of our closest people have turned cyborg. Still part human, their hearts are now ruled by a relentless desire for digital encounters with people they haven’t yet met — and they grow immune to real intimacy. Their insatiable FOLO thirst for infinite future connections prevents them from feeling actual connections in the real world. Even with their closest friends.
Fake intimacy destroys the possibility of real intimacy and it leaves real friends feeling abandoned.
Reprogrammed by social media at the deepest neuroemotional levels, our cyborgs share what used to qualify as intimate personal details with 23 perfect strangers before lunch. In addition to blindsiding their closest confidants (“Are you saying you told everyone? Even anonymous_dangerduck_788?”), their daily ritual of “instant intimacy” narrows their capacity to deepen real bonds with real friends. They’ve become addicted to the quick rush of online novelty, and Someone New is always more appealing than boring old you. (Even if you are a fire-eating supermodel genius — and all the more so if you aren’t.) They become distracted and unable to invest in or attend to your life in any sustained way. And because their online obsession robs them of the time it takes to keep real friendships real, your friendship slowly dissolves. Fake intimacy destroys the possibility of real intimacy, and it leaves real friends feeling abandoned.
I love my cyborgs. But from their stations miles into the metaverse, they can barely love me back.
So I suffer. But my cyborgs do, too. Unlike A.I., cyborgs still hunger for the depths of interhuman contact. But after so regularly confusing the thin rush of fake intimacy for the nourishing bond of real relation, they are often unable to…