The Topic: I beg to differ...

 Cliona (11:07 AM)
To think that you're in love is not adequate evidence to say you are. You can think you're in love with a person and not really be, because, say that person doesn't love you... are you really in love or just infatuated with the idea? Are you so blinded by that infatuation that you don't see the fact you're not really in love? It's hard to tell.


Denise Richards (11:16 AM) 
You read my mind, girl.

Denise Richards (11:17 AM) 
For pure entertainment value only, why don't we open up the topic "What is Love?" to a panel of randomly chosen internet surfers.

 AmazingGoat (11:20 AM)
I've always been fond of the definition of love as a state where your happiness is dependent upon the happiness of the object of your love.
I totally disagree with you, Clio. I don't buy that I can't be in love with somebody because they don't feel the same way. It seems to me like you can walk up to somebody who's in love with somebody who doesn't feel the same and state, "Sorry, Mr./Miss, you're not really in love. The other person doesn't feel the same."
Anyway, can you ever really tell what another person is actually feeling?

 AmazingGoat (11:21 AM)
Though obviously sending love letters to Denise is insane, I'll buy that they're in love-- just with a construct of their imagination, not an actual person.

Seven of Nine (11:28 AM) 
"Internet Love" is inefficient. Should reproduction be required, instinct will compel parties involved to procreate.

 Comic Book Store Guy (11:30 AM)
My instincts compel me to procreate with you, oh beautiful 7 of 9.

Seven of Nine (11:30 AM) 
Please terminate your useless infatuation. Besides, I have some very frightening Borg implants in certain places.

 ZEX (11:31 AM)
Well Love... Let us define lust first
Lust is the desire to satisfy yourself by using the other person/animal/maching as the object that'll satisfy you
Love is the wish to make the one you are in love with happy...

I think.

 Cliona (11:33 AM)
Who says that internet love doesn't lead to instinct compelling the parties involved to procreate? tee hee...
And I also believe that when you're truly in love, in a deep and mutual relationship, that you can tell what the other person is feeling. It just takes a good long while to get there.
Also, don't think that there is anything wrong with infatuation, I am infatuated with someone, as well as deeply in love with them. Infatuation is that "tee hee!" feeling while love is that "this is the person I will spend the rest of my life with" feeling.

Denise Richards (11:36 AM) 
Cliona and I clearly see eye-to-eye on this issue.

 atropos (11:36 AM)
As some of us Askers are male and others are female, maybe it would be an interesting test to let us add pictures to our accounts (without upgrading to "Iridium Membership") and see if we have any cases of Internet Love here. Kind of like a science experiment....

 atropos (11:38 AM)
Before anyone jumps on me for this, I realize that it is possible to have Internet Love without pictures, but I imagine that pictures probably just help speed the process along.

 Lord Amazorn (11:38 AM)
I'm going to have to insist on the membership fees.
Unless the Hacker around here wants to give the option of either a ?, male, or female symbol as a picture.

 ZEX (11:38 AM)
Drop the picture stuff already...

We can't ask to have askee privilages, they are famous and rich (some of) we can't be like that. they have all already payd for the Iridium membership (SHHHH!)

Bacon (11:39 AM) 
We don't let any old person post HTML, but we on the inside can touch messages to get the HTML to take.

 atropos (11:41 AM)
Uh.... didn't this thread have more posts a minute ago?

 The Spiraling Shape (11:42 AM)

 AmazingGoat (11:44 AM)
The AmazingGoat's theorem:

 AmazingGoat (11:47 AM)
The AmazingGoat's theorem: Any discussion between multiple parties online will eventually devolve into some lonely guy trying to pick up chicks. Discussing the subject of love simply speeds the process along.
I think I can understand and/or agree with Clio, though I have to submit that it's only the belief that makes it love... whether or not you can actually tell what the other person is thinking is irrelevant.

Comic Book Store Guy (11:54 AM) 
I protest. There are no lonely guys here trying to pick up chicks.

 godofchuck (11:52 AM)
Infatuation is a Double Quarter Pounder. Love is a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

Koch (11:56 AM) 
Hmm... I may have to steal that line - "Love is a three edged delicious hamburger."

 AmazingGoat (11:54 AM)
And lust is one of those little packets of ketchup.

 Cliona (11:54 AM)
I can somewhat understand that. I mean... I was in love before I knew the other person was, too, but I only said it out loud when I was 99.9% sure that the feeling was mutual.
And, regarding why internet love is somewhat easier to come by than 'real' love (for love is love, regardless of the medium) is because, ever notice that love is found in unexpected places? Also, ever notice that everyone you've ever met online is exactly the same type of person? Not so much 'guys with the pocket protector', but those people who are all, "society can fuck itself!" and are somehow more creative than the rest? How much personal merit does it take to get sloshed out of your mind? How much does it take to be creative and beautiful, even before anyone's actually seen you?

 godofchuck (11:56 AM)
But seriously (that's odd on this site), I think love can easily exist as a one-way street, although it's not too profitable (except for the lovee, if (s)he is willing to take advantage of it). Unless one is truly in love, wherein one takes pleasure in the giving of said love. Love as a two-way street is much better, and is more likely to assist in perpetuating the species, which is what it all boils down to. Except in the case of homosexual love and sterile love.

 atropos (11:56 AM)
So Cliona, you're claiming that the Internet is full of non-conformist rebels? Uh-huh. Explain the popularity of AOL again?

 Bloodyegg (11:57 AM)
If love is an emotion, it shouldn't depend on how some other person feels. Take, for example, hate as a feeling. A person doesn't have to hate you back for you to hate him.

 AmazingGoat (11:58 AM)
I think on the internet you witness two things: the fact that groups of like-minded people tend to clump together and drive away those who aren't alike, and the fact that even today internet users do not exactly represent a large cross-slice of all possible groups. However, even with that being true, I have seen enough internet confrontations to assure you that lots of people on the internet are very, very different personality-wise from each other.
Maybe you're hanging in the wrong places.

 Batman (11:59 AM)
This is certainly one of the "wrong places"

 godofchuck (11:58 AM)
I have to disagree as to the truth of people on the Internet being cast from the same mold. Maybe that was true (or more true) in the past, but it is far less true now. But what is truth, anyway <g>

 fenrik (11:58 AM)
Love is a personal connection between people. Falling "in love" over the internet is impossible. The internet is not populated by people, it is populated by the abstractions and various identities assumed by people. While it is true that it's difficult enough to get in touch with someone's "real self" in person, trying it over the internet is an exercise in futility. Since you never have direct evidence of the person you are communicating with, it is illogical to do anything but assume that the "person" is lying about everything. Thus the internet objectifies human beings to the ultimate extreme, and when used as a replacement for human interaction will eventually cause the end of the concept of interpersonal relationships as we know it.

Of course, some people might not think that's an entirely bad prospect.

Willow Rosenberg (12:01 PM) 
*sniff* I'm so proud of our readers!

Milkman Dan (12:01 PM) 
I'm not. Where's the bitterness and sarcasm? I obviously haven't been working them over hard enough.

 Bloodyegg (12:01 PM)
I don't think it makes any sense to assume that everyone on the internet is lying. You can lie about your identity in "real life" too, but perhaps just not as easily. I like the idea of meeting people on the internet because it's based entirely on personality (unless you're one of those "Do you have a pic?" people).

 godofchuck (12:02 PM)
fenrik, you seem a pessimist. Isn't it better to assume that people are telling the truth, extend a little trust? Sure, don't go meet "Bob" in San Fransisco alone or anything like that, but come on... I think that the Internet allows for easier access to one's feelings as there is not the same pressure as in-the-flesh meetings. And I know of numerous examples of people falling in love over the Internet. So nyah-nyah : )

 godofchuck (12:03 PM)
I hate you Milkman Dan.

 Cliona (12:03 PM)
Love is blind. It is also not a tangible (*touch touch touch*) thing and can not be limited to the purely physical realms. Falling 'in love' is entirely possible online, though, granted, it always leaves that little "Is this real?" feeling to it. I don't believe that people should confine their relationships to the internet, and I also don't believe that people should use the internet as a replacement for real life when continuing a relationship that's been born there, if at all possible (you know, long distance bills can be a bitch, though, so there's always that little exception).

 AmazingGoat (12:03 PM)
Real life is population by the various abstractions people choose to wear in their everyday interaction.
Don't be bitter, Milkman Dan. Here, have a popsicle.

 atropos (12:03 PM)
What, my AOL comment wasn't sarcastic enough for you, Dan?

 godofchuck (12:06 PM)
There is the problem of physical cues online, of course.

 Cliona (12:07 PM)
I am in agreement with godofchuck (have you met Chuck, who lives across the hall?) with the belief that the internet allows people to meet and interact with people they never would associate with in real life. Does anyone ever go up to the shy kid in the corner and talk to him? In a perfect world, of course we would, but this is far from it. On the internet, that shy kid doesn't turn into someone different, he just isn't so scared, and can be free to share his ideas as openly as possible. That 'shy kid' turns into the sensitive, funny, loving kid with all the crazy creative ideas and high morals and noble attributes. It's not a place to be someone different, but to actually get a chance to show who you are.
Would I give speeches like this if y'all were standing in front of me? Hell no, with the exception of one. Here, it's okay, though.

 Cliona (12:08 PM)
And, regarding AOL, it's evil and therefore doesn't count. AOL can die now.

 Some AOL User (12:08 PM)
Age/sex check! IM me for pixs.

 fenrik (12:09 PM)
Cynical and pessimistic I am, but that's just the way my brain is wired. If it's possible to fall in love over the internet, and if, as some of you say, you know people who have done so, why did they ever meet the person with whom they fell in love? Wouldn't it be better to stay on the internet if love is not a tangible thing and the pressure is so greatly reduced. Meeting in person just makes everything so complicated! You know, you're right. I'm convinced. I'm just going to stay right here in my room where everything is based on personality and it's nice and safe.

Space Moose (12:10 PM) 
Yes, stay in your room. My "Special Unit" is en route.

 Bloodyegg (12:09 PM)
Don't forget that the internet is also full of idiots who think cyber sex is a hobby... not unlike real life.

 AmazingGoat (12:11 PM)
AOL does count! So much. You can always turn to AOL for examples of the lowest common denominantor. While AOL's censorship upsets the balance a bit, in the end, the basest, most common (and I hate to sound elitist here, but not much) results of internet love/lust, and interaction of any sort, can (and will always) be found at that damn place.

 godofchuck (12:11 PM)
Nope, haven't met Chuck across the hall. I don't think. But your insight is very true that the Internet allows one to speak more easily and without (as much) fear. One can (to a degree) escape anything in the physical realm that they dread and speak from their hearts and mind, which in fact would create a truer love, should it happen, as it is based purely on love of one's inner self and not outer self. Although that isn't assured, obviously.

 atropos (12:11 PM)
Well, speaking as the shy kid, I can at least agree that it's a lot easier this way. Of course, I'm different on the Internet than I am with close friends, but this is a start.

 Cliona (12:12 PM)
Why go meet people? Because you're in love. And instinct will compel parties involved to procreate.

 atropos (12:12 PM)
I think we've learned a valuable lesson here today, people. Now let's all move in for a group hug.

 godofchuck (12:12 PM)
Do people actually say "pixs"? It should be either "pics" or "pix" - "pixs" is piks-es...

 Willow Rosenberg (12:13 PM)
Group hug! You guys are the best!

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