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02-13-2011 - Stimuli

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Carrying around a facsimile of our environment within our minds is not enough. We cannot impart autonomous actions, thoughts and dynamics to our own subjective creation. Even perceiving our reality somewhat directly using our senses can leave us feeling adrift at times. What anchors us, makes us feel right and like we belong?

Research into sensory deprivation and even casual observation of people in long-term solitary confinement illustrate that our minds can remain whole for a limited period of time without external stimuli. Some are effectively confined due to anti-social behavior or medical issues. The Internet can alleviate some of that, but it will never replace face-to-face human interaction in all its complexity. It could come close, when 3D immersive interfaces come online with all the bells and whistles, but we'll still know it's not real.

We need other people. More to the point, we need to feel like we matter to someone. Now, we've all been alone at times, but we most likely still had someone we could go to that cared. Being completely alone is not something I have experienced. I have felt that way, but it was never an actuality. I truly feel for any that are in that position.

When our minds connect with someone we care about we see that we are not completely unique, that we are accepted, that our perspectives are corroborated and that, at the minimum, we're not in the loony bin all by ourselves.

Love can take this a bit farther through emotional attachment and reinforcement. It can, in the case of romantic love, turn it all upside down leaving reality in the dust. This can happen when all available focus is spent on the object we deem critical to our survival.

Hoping you have a Happy Valentines Day ;-)

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