By: Narveen Aryaputri,
Staff writer of Georgia Weekly Post.
A sense of belonging is one of the most powerful psychological needs, a basic component of us: human beings. This sense of belonging is part of the human emotion of Love. Love in its total sense: both in its giving and in its receiving. Love, the most elemental and primal quality of our existence in this Universe. With Love is Belonging.
It's a chicken and egg question: does love come before belonging. Or does belonging come before love. Will today, with the presence of Cyberspace, separate the two?
Over the years I have observed and studied this question of belonging and love. And I have studied the human need of both.
We have always been informed by literature and history: both recording the experiences of humans, their emotions, ambitions, desires and their lives.
Now we have the dimension of the Internet.
The success of Facebook, now with over 1.4 Billion users, AND growing; is based on this one quality: the sense of belonging. The genius is not so much in the technical computer manipulation. Anyone can do that. It is in the founders genius in recognizing this need of belonging and knowing how to capitalize on it, with the correct algorithms, to make money.
The question he does not answer is how much love is found through this sense of belonging that he provides, 24/7 through the forum he called Facebook. That is a question for us to answer.
All of these experiences become a template for others, who seek this pleasure, to satisfy their need.
The imagination is fired by the words read in the page. That is the power of words. Either communicated in conversation, seductively arousing; or in written words, creating an expectation where none existed before.
Here, with this article I write three of the most pointed, varied and typical experiences that have been recounted to me, as a writer, and a student of these interwoven twin emotions : belonging and love.
Over time you will see more vignettes, in your own lives.
Please note: all names are changed.
The three women were at the local country club around Buckhead, Georgia, having a lunch.
Two were older. There was one younger woman. All three were beautifully dressed establishing their social status. You could see that just as you see them walking in. The younger woman held her posture tall and regal. You could see she came from a royal home. Well established. She was a new immigrant to America, therefore, according to the immigration laws, she had to divest herself of any royal title. Yet, the breeding of Nobility is in her blood.
That cannot be divested. You could see it in her carriage, her deportment, her steady gaze, her controlled and graceful movements, her voice tones, her diction. You could see it in her reactions to statements given to her, some not very kind since, due to life circumstances, she was now single and maintaining a single status. The thorn tongues of women sharpen against single women of status. She knew well how to deflect those and handle them without big pulled into the morass. A morass of mud. You could see her breeding and nobility in her kindness and generosity, in how she treated those who came to her for help, or those more disadvantaged than her. Mostly you could see her breeding and nobility in how she handled life situations. Not only in the courage to fight, but in the courage to come forward and assist when someone was in acute need, without a second thought for her wellbeing or any selfish interests whatsoever.
The other two older women were not of natural breeding into nobility. They were there, at the club, because their husbands had made a lot of money. They could afford to buy fancy expensive designer clothes, but they had no originality nor grace on how to put them together. They both envied the younger one who sat before them. Envied her for what she had that they could never buy.
The older woman who had invited the younger woman spoke, making a statement to no one in particular, "Some women like their husbands to have a mistress. The husbands make better lovers."
The other older woman listenening in silence looked at the younger woman, knowing the comment was directed to
her since she was beautiful and single and intelligent. And younger. Therefore the more likely to be the 'mistress'.
The younger woman didn't bat an eye. She took this in her stride. As if it had happened every day of her life. She knew an embarrassed silence was not the way to go. It would confirm the seriousness of the comment. She, too, knew the comment was directed to her.
"Oh, yes! " she said in a casual calm natural tone. "That is exactly right. Many men must keep a mistress. Because of their wives."
The awkward moment passed. The conversation turned to different topics.
But the matter was not laid to rest. The older woman invited the younger woman over to their house. Took her out to lunch. Her intent was clear. The younger woman knew the unspoken reasons. Yet, there was a warmth and affection that had grown between them for other shared interests. But the unspoken tension maintained itself. It was the proverbial elephant in the room nobody talked about, yet all could feel.
During the dinner evenings the older woman's husband would be present. The younger woman was always the guest of honor. He was handsome. Elegant. With a European charm. He knew she was in a difficult spot in her life. He was a powerful man. Very wealthy. He was always suggesting his usefulness to her. Looking for ways to ingratiate himself to her. But it was always the tantalizing undercurrent of sensuality. Never anything further.
Then, the older woman invited the younger woman to lunch. And in the middle of the lunch conversation said to the younger woman, talking of her husband, "he made love to me . After so long. He was very tender. He made me feel from the top of my head to the tips of my toes." and she guestured, pointing to the top of her head and leaning back in her chair, as if remembering the delicious moment, as she let her hand trace the length of her body down to her toes. All the while watching the younger woman's reactions.
There was none.
The younger woman looked at her with a level gaze, a composed smile hovering on her lips. She said nothing. There was nothing to be said.
But friends who knew the older couple were beginning to act a little strange. As if they were in on a 'secret' that they knew and were talking about and around her. The younger woman now began to be curious. Watching. Observing.
Then a new development occurred. The younger woman was getting invited to a home of another friend of the older
woman for afternoon tea or coffee. There was no one else invited except her. Yet there was a gentle hint, now and then, of the expectation that a man would be stopping in. This hint, this expectation was always in the air. But nobody showed up. There was always the mystery of someone about to come to meet her, like a private meeting arranged by a confidant between two secret lovers. Yet none happened.
It continued, at this level of sensuousness. More and more 'friends' were getting to notice her. The younger woman was invited to dinner by other friends of the older couple, where she was observed, as if a prized purchase at display.
Then one of their friends came to visit her. Another older woman. Another friend of the older couple. To have a cup of coffee. And spoke to her. About meaningless everyday matters.
But, abruptly, in the middle said to her, "I have a joke for you. Would you like to hear it?"
" Yes," said the younger woman.
"The joke is from Europe," said the older woman. "A man, wealthy man, had a lovely mistress. For quite a few years. His wife didn't know. Then his wife found out. She was furious. Threatened divorce. Demanded he leave his mistress. Threatened divorce some more. The husband told her, "think it over. Fancy big house. Great vactions. Lots of friends. Lots of money. Think it over."
By chance, the next day he took his wife out to lunch. At the restaurant the wife noticed that across the room one of their friends was having lunch with a woman who was not his wife. So she asked her husband, "Who is that woman? She is not his wife."
The husband said, "why, that's his mistress."
So the wife looked the friend's mistress over, thought for a moment, and said: "Well! Our mistress is better looking than their mistress."
The message came about loud and clear. That was the word that was going about. And yet, she was not the 'mistress'. Nothing had happened. Except these dinners and lunches.
The younger woman had nothing to say. She swallowed her pain, putting another stone on her heart.
It's odd how women communicate in oblique, sideways glances and comments. It's odd how effective they are, in how they get their vicious message across.
The younger woman had learned to ignore these and discard them. But she knew she would pull away from that so called friendship. Their fondness for each other and friendship was crashing on steep jagged rocks, drawing blood. The blood only made a person stronger.
We do not know which came first, choosing the Internet or having the intent thrust upon us. Regardless, the Internet is a basic part of our lives. Love, then, cannot, and could not, be far behind. Love, the basic essence of all our desires, the essence of our being; would, of course, have very soon slipped into the other necessity of our lives: the Internet. And the Internet would then, of course, have become a source of Love and passion.
The online love services are increasing by the day. Match.com, E-harmony, O.K.Cupid, Twoo, are just a few popular ones. They all are focused on monetarily capitalizing on this search for pleasure, the belonging that is interwoven with love. And the sense of adventure.
Adventure is interwoven into the search for new love, new sex. There is an excitement with new sex. Those who understand the world of love and belonging understand this very well. Some businesses learn to take advantage of this human need.
Hugh Lietzberg told me of this 'habit' he had gotten into. This is what he told me:
"I don't know how I had slipped into the habit. But habit it had become. Every morning, just as I woke, I would reach for my phone, and go into the Internet. Seeking out the faces and personalities of the many women floating on the screen in front of me. Pretty soon, I find one. For example, on this day, pretty soon my eyes were struck by the image of a specially beautiful woman. Today I selected a dark haired beauty with blue eyes. I sent her a message, "Hi," I typed out on my phone. I put the phone away, shutting my eyes, and laying there. My wife was sleeping next to me. I could see her breathing evenly, her breast rising and falling. She always slept quietly, which was a blessing.
I shut my eyes, laying in bed, thinking of the dark haired beauty. My phone vibrated. The screen lit up. It was her. "Hi," she had written back. "Good morning to you."
I got up from bed. I knew this one was special. This one I needed to talk with on the main computer. I knew my wife would be sleeping in. A few moments with this new dark haired find was all i needed.
I went to the computer, and pretty soon I was in a deep conversation with her.
Pretty soon, we had cemented a bond.
I wanted to meet this one. I typed, "Can we meet?"
"Where?" she typed back.
I suggested a coffee shop downtown.
"Sure," she typed back.
Nobody knows. Nobody can know that I have this private quiet 'affair' with one woman after another on the Internet.
It was strangely satisfying. I don't know why, but it is satisfying. And exciting. Often I would go to the bathroom after a hot, long, steamy conversation with one of them, and oil myself, thinking of her all the time, till with an exquisite burst of pleasure, I could release my tension.
Sometimes, I would meet the women. Other times I would end the conversation, or she would end the conversation. I knew I would, then, find someone else. It did not take long. That is the advantage of the Internet.
Brittany Jones, beautiful, vivacious, flirtatious, loving men. She and I met for coffee.
She told me:
" I am reckless when I am in love. I cannot restrain myself. I merge into him. Into his breath, into his thoughts, his body, his being. I forget myself. I have no presence of my own.
And every time the intensity of my love it too heavy for him. And he pulls away. Then, very soon after, he takes on a lover."
"But he does not yet leave me," Brittany said. "And I cannot leave him."
She shows me a passage from a book she is reading, with tears in her eyes, totally identifying with the words in the page:
"She knows when he has taken on a lover. Love has inner eyes to see. When lying on the same bed with her lover she accidentally heard her rivals name. The beautiful lady abruptly turned her back and refuses his entreaties. When he was quiet for a while she turned to look at him fearing he had fallen asleep."
She told me how she would drive by his house, just for the joy it would bring.
She read me another passage from another book:
"Then, when the passion grows intense, the exchanges of messages begins. You seek out where the lover lives. You wind up going to her home. And after the joy of the first embrace even the mere wandering along the street by her house produced the highest bliss."
"And when you are not with her, not driving down her street, in between work, you wistfully look in the direction of your beloved's house, your heart filling with joy, bringing a smile hovering on your lips, making your eyes so tender. "
I could see that she was in love with a Love. The screen romance obsessed her. It was her escapism. I told her, "You are in love with love." "Yes," she said quietly. "I can't stop. I can't help it."
Perhaps this being in love with Love is a gain, the advantage of living in an illusion. Perhaps that emotion, too, becomes a reality. Those who love are the ones who gain. They are the ones who knew its
tenderness when the heart spills over.
It is in literature, not just in Cyberspace, where you read the words that fire your imagination. It is in history that you see the effect of those human emotions unfold in human lives. Literature and History: the record of human experience are reflected in Cyberspace. Where we have history, literature is not far behind. Perhaps it's another chicken and egg question: Which came first?
The young today have no idea of what Love was before Cyberspace. The eroticism of someone coming to your door with flowers in his hand, dressed well, dressed to impress not only her, but her father and mother.
The 20th Century was when the Internet burst into our lives. Life was already complicated before the Internet. With 'that' Internet, Life, and it's quintessential component Love, became more and more complex. Now, in the 21st Century the complexity has become exponential. So many private 'Love-Lives Live' in Cyberspace.
Now there are those who have no idea what life was like without the internet.
Is Love more difficult in this 21st Century? Was it as difficult then as it is now? Love, the emotion, the thread that weaves and connects us from the time the first baby was conceived is woven through to today: when the twinkle in an eye turns to the passion of the heated night.
Love is perennial. Of consuming interest. As is passion.
Perennial are the whispered words of love, excited stammering, deep sighs, the scents of sweating, intertwined bodies.
Is Love more exciting if it is more difficult?
Is Love a trap, repetitive and stale? Or is Love the freshness and excitement of new sex? Is it a seeking for a completion of our own self. Or a seeking of an escape from the drudgery of the routine, the familiar.
These are questions that remain only to be answered in our personal space.
As we trudge through to the next decade of the 21st Century will Love become easier? Has the sense of belonging actually separated itself from Love, and has become dependent on the virtual world around us ? The world we cannot touch?
Still, to this day, nothing can even remotely touch the beauty and the sheer power of physical Love in shared intimate space.
This is an Art Form. Some have this Art Form. Others envy it when they recognize it, even if they don't have it in themselves. This Art Form is refined even further by the exceptional men and women who know and understand passion. These exceptional people understand obsession, and understand those who love this obsession. They, like us all, thirst for pleasure.
As it has been from time immemorial.