Love in the age of the cell phone

Cairo: Medhat Safwat

In the story of the American novelist and storyteller John Schaeffer, “The Great Radio”, a married couple buys a radio after the old one has stopped working.The building itself.

The radio then allows the spouses to get acquainted with the conversations of others and learn the details of their lives, which seem tempting to them, so that they wake up at night and go to the living room, and turn on the radio CD before they wonder . or the neighbors can hear their lives too.

The story, published in 1947, dates back to the invention of home computers, smartphones, the Internet and communication platforms, predicted that the line between private and public life collapsed, blurred boundaries until people appeared naked in glass houses, and quickly ‘ has become a source. of uncertainty and self-doubt.

In “Massive Radio”, exposure to the lives of others and the violation of their privacy led the couple to impose self-censorship on their lives, especially when listening to the radio. Now in a world where our conversations are centered on digital servers, how can we be assured of our privacy, especially in love, and some governments may, for example, revoke stored records.

In love we practice our privacy, we love our secrets, perhaps to the extent that the Arabs in the past believed the connection between love and madness, so can we practice our romance in the high-tech world? How can poets and writers express this powerful thing called love in their writing? And finally, how do their lyrics play the role of mediator between lovers in dating apps and “Tinder”?

instant change

The search for the answer necessarily requires recognition that digital technology is penetrating our world today, starting with computers, smartphones, even kitchen utensils and washing machines, and even cars. Describe it as you wish. Technology is unthinkable, to the extent that we are constantly carrying a device in our pockets, a smartphone, after these digital technologies have completely adapted and turned our way of life upside down.

Over time, our relationship with digital technology has gradually complicated, nowadays most people will not leave home without their smartphone, tablet or laptop, in a context that creates a unique relationship between the individual and the device, human and machine produce, the latter is no longer just a tool to perform a task One or only action, but has become an extension of our personality that enables us to respond to the current demands of society, and to a very cunning way technology has become intertwined in our daily lives. and our physical lives; So that it becomes very difficult to distinguish between the two lives, we here subconsciously introduce technology into our conversation as if it has its own willpower.

In light of this complexity and intertwining, there are those who talk about technological emotions, who are the humanization of technological inventions, who open the door to the fears of thinkers and philosophers about the future of human emotions, and their special nature that do not automatically measured or framed, which leads us to look for a reason Absence or deterioration of romantic literature, especially in the field of poetic writing.

new way

As technology has changed our view of love, the way we love, and the expressions we use, poetry has also begun to catch up. We no longer have the Greek poet “Sappho” or the Englishman William Shakespeare, John Donne and Elizabeth Barrett Browning does not. , nor do we have an Arab Omar bin Abi Rabi’ah or Al Abbas bin Al-Ahnaf or Majnun Laila, then the hadith of Ibrahim Naji, Ali Mahmoud Taha, or Nizar Qabbani.

It is not about Romanticism as a trend, it refers to the attitude or intellectual orientation that many works of literature, painting, music, architecture, criticism and historiography in Western civilization over a period from the late eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth characterized. century, and was represented by the rejection of the principles of order, calmness, harmony, balance and idealism and the rationalism that characterized Classicism in general and the late eighteenth century and neoclassicism in particular, as well as to some extent a reaction against the Enlightenment and against eighteenth-century rationality and materialism as a whole, with the emphasis on the individual, subjectivity, irrational, imaginative, personal, spontaneous, emotional, visionary and transcendental.

We mean here rather with the absence of poetics, which is full of flaming emotions, intense feelings and the murmur of a robbed heart, which sees in love as an indispensable necessity of life, on the basis of “love on earth, some of what we give ourselves imagined if we did not get it on it; we found out. ”

Press a button

Where did the love poetry go? We believe in the era of virtual dating, it becomes absurd for an individual to address his lover with the words of Antarah bin Shaddad: “I have reminded you and the spears are nawahel / of me, and the eggs of India are dripping “I wanted to kiss the swords, because they shone like your smiling smile.” It looks really ridiculous.

Now that the encounter at the click of a button has become, dating applications rank second on the list of the most common ways in the United States to establish romantic relationships, thereby creating the idea of ​​thousands of possibilities for available partnerships , the lover is no longer just an individual, the options are open and multiple, here University of California professor Julie Albright said dating has become a sport, not a way to build a long-term relationship not.

In this changing world, one can no longer tolerate patience with one loved one, it can be difficult or almost impossible to talk to 300 women in one night in the right place, while high technology has provided the ability to have the same number to address on dating applications, and as long as you go out in the middle of a constant, There is no future and no hope in sight, and the result is that people find themselves alone and anxious without knowing why.

In the time of “Tinder” you do not need Victorian poetry or imitation of romance, nor do you grasp the simulation of Majnun Laila’s texts, the world is fragmented and full of details, and the earth is not a complete desert or full of paradise, it simply does not need more than to create a profile, The phrases are short and the words are specific, no matter how honest they are, the hypothetical can make these limited sentences dangerous traps.

Poetry, and literature in general, is an allegorical field, but it is torture. In the world of hypothetics, fake files are not metaphors. Therefore, Albright offers her advice to transcend this world and experience love and express it realistically, “Spend time together, get to know each other, and make building this relationship a sacred space.” , without the intervention of any devices, ”in short,“ in love and above all, turn off your phone. ”

traditional tips

The decline of romantic poetry or excessive sensual love poems has forced the website “master class” to consult a number of poets and writers and give advice entitled “How to write a love poem”. Since love is one of the most common poetic themes, writing a good poem that revolves around it, provided it is not banal or superficial, can become a real challenge.

Despite the traditional advice, the interest of platforms concerned with creativity in providing advice for writing love poems is an indication of the crisis of romantic and emotional expression in the era of technological development. The site begins its advice, “If you want to write a love poem, the best place to start is to collect some of your favorite love poems and see what they have in common, knowing that the best love poems say more than” I love you. ” They often convey a certain aspect of infatuation and they tend to outdo themselves and the privacy of one person, and once you spend time with romantic poems, you can use creative writing techniques to write your own poem for your loved one. ”

According to the American website, the need to focus on the form. Collecting your favorite love poems can help you decide whether you want to write poems like William Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda or William Butler Yeats, or free poems like Maya Angelou, the black women’s court poet, and you can always experiment with different poetic forms to to find what works for you.

Most poems rely on images and sensory details to create a visual image for their readers. Image, symbolism and figurative language are especially important, as a non-living being or a natural phenomenon often stands as a symbol of love. . As the eighteenth-century Scottish poet Robert Burns put it: “My love is like a red rose.” On the other hand, romantic love itself sometimes serves as a symbol for other themes – such as patriotism – in poems that seem like love poems, but are in fact about something else.

false summaries

In 1984, Italian novelist and thinker Umberto Eco wrote in the appendix to The Name of the Rose about the difficulty of saying “I love you” in an era when these words were exhausted.

Eco was writing its line before it reached the Internet age, or humanity’s transition to the high-tech era, but its idea finds resonance in an era when we encourage each of us to create a “virtual “create personality on the internet; When we know – and we know we know – intimate words can be used for social gestures, hearts and preferences, but as the line between the real and the virtual fades, and the difference between the private and the public fades, we can be honest ? When we argue, do we think of how to summarize events in an eloquent tweet?

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