Are Virtual Relationships Digitizing our Souls?

The line of demarcation between our physical and internet lives is continually blurring. Many of our activities are obviously shifting to the latter, especially when it comes to communication and entertainment. Music, video, written text, and personal communication are already more prevalent on the web. Before you know it everything that you can’t get directly from the Internet will get dropped shipped to the home you never need to leave. I’ve even read about machines that can print three dimensional objects. Can you imagine ordering an end table from the Internet and then printing it from scratch directly in your home? It almost sounds like the Starship Enterprise teleporter, but I’m getting side tracked.

When I consider this, it makes me a little sad. It seems to me that we might be digitizing our souls along with music, videos and books.  But is it true? I can see traces of the lizard brain in that statement. After all, isn’t the Internet just a new medium for the same old stuff we’ve had forever? What makes me hesitate the most is when virtual connections replace physical ones. People are able to leave home and still stay in contact with friends and family. What is the cost? I don’t think there is currently a sufficient alternative to hugs and kisses. On the other hand, how many people do we now connect with daily that at best would have received an occasional letter in the past? In person is just better than a digital representation.

Let’s assume that you have the following two choices:

You can have a remote relationship with as many people as you want. That means all of the social networks, any remote communications method including audio, video and messages. But you can’t breathe the same air with any of them. It means that you can’t physically touch any of them.


You can live in close proximity to five people that you love most in the world. However, you can have no relationship with any of the other people you’ve met in your life.

Which would you choose?