The online life… is no life

Published April 4, 2021, 8:00 PM

by MB Lifestyle

THE WEEKEND READER: A student mulls over how interactions in the cyber world, albeit necessary because of the ongoing crisis, are not what human beings are made for.

By Ivan Beley

In our current day and age it is a common phenomenon that people dive into the cyber world. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, a lot of us were forced to stay at home, shifting all our means for work and communication online. The internet is an advantage I was able to make good use of during this pandemic but then I realized it hasn’t been complete. I was lacking something. 

(Manila Bulletin/Unsplash)

With the ongoing crisis, we are advised to stay at home in order to mitigate the chances of spreading the virus and help lessen the number of cases. Almost everything we do now is done online such as classes, interactions with others, parties, and even other important events. As a graduating student, from face-to-face classes the school set up had to migrate online and my classes turned into what is called “blended learning.” 

Aside from classes, I also had to deal with my social gatherings, which have all shifted online as well. As a person who attends talks related to history, philosophy, politics, and culture, I have now been attending webinars instead. There is a plus here because I am also able to attend activities or programs abroad, opening my portal to achieving dreams that are impossible to achieve due to travel needs and preparations.

Even my social and personal interactions with friends have been affected by the pandemic. From dinners to drinking sessions, we have shifted online through video chatting. Still, I was able to make new friends online, as my friends were able to introduce me to their other set of friends from other parts of the country and even abroad. 

(Manila Bulletin/Unsplash)

There are, undoubtedly, advantages in the cyber world but I believe it is not a complete experience. I honestly miss face-to-face class discussions where we would argue during hot lectures or form a “socratic dialogue.” I miss the times when my friends and I would discuss any topic over beer, a meal, or even in carpooling sessions with my friends. I also miss those times when I would get home late because of the nonstop discussions or even parties. It is our nature as humans to socialize with others, and with restrictions in physical interactions, our nature as a social being has somewhat been degraded. Our means of communication in this cyber world are not that effective or as fulfilling.

I know it has been a little over a year since the pandemic has forced drastic changes in our lives, but I still am hoping and praying that this crisis will end and we will be able to return to our truly normal ways of interacting with others again.  

The Weekend Reader is a Sunday submission segment of Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Arts + Culture. Those who wish to submit their essays for the Weekend Reader may do so via email: [email protected] As subject of the email, write WEEKEND READER followed by the title of your essay. 

The opinions and views expressed in The Weekend Reader are of the respective authors and not of the Manila Bulletin.