Other Choices to Love

Irina Pino

Her2013PosterHAVANA TIMES — Can someone fall in love with an operating system? This is what happens in the film Her (2013), winner of the Oscar for Best Original Script at last year’s Academy Awards.

The main character, still suffering over a recent relationship, begins using a piece of software that becomes his personal assistant and penetrates his mind until making him entirely subordinate to it emotionally.

The program is a woman, or manifests itself as a female voice, with whom he falls in love. As different points of contact and ways of relating become established between them, a rather unusual bond develops between the characters.

How could someone who doesn’t actually exist become indispensable and touch one so profoundly?

Why can’t we find what we’re looking for in the people that surround us? Are there no flesh-and-blood individuals endowed with the spirituality, interests and moral values that could complement us?

Every day, we lose more and more of ourselves; we distance ourselves from what makes us happy, exchange the whole for the part. Those minute and peculiar details that make us love the person we’ve chosen make us forget that defects will inevitably appear later, and we find consolation by deceiving ourselves.

In today’s technologically advanced world, people meet one another through the Internet more and more. There are many who resort to this type of virtual love as a practical solution when they are feeling lonely or need to find someone to speak to. The blind dates of the past are all but gone.

I have a friend who lives in the United States who’s told me of her experiences looking for a couple through an Internet agency. She’s gone out with three men of different nationality and hasn’t ended up dating any of them. They only wanted to go out and have sex on weekends and weren’t interested in a different kind of relationship.

I myself exchanged emails with a writer for some months. I confess that, at first, it struck me as an odd experience. Gradually, checking my email became something of an addiction, an experiment that robbed me of sleep, as I would go to bed late or find myself unable to fall asleep. I even had erotic dreams with the man.

It became a relationship of mutual dependence, and we hadn’t even seen each other’s faces or heard the other one speak. It was based on words, ideas, thoughts – we imagined and loved each other and were even able to break up (yes, we became distant for a while). Later, we continued to write one another.

The result: he travelled to Cuba and the experience was brutal. It turned out to be someone I abhorred from the moment I saw him.

All of this is an effect of isolation, the loneliness we subject ourselves to. It stems from the fear of showing who we are, of saying what we want or how we desire openly. Our small lies always get the better of us, they take away a part of us. Tolerance is not a form of love.

We look far for something that could be beneath our very noses. In the film, Theodore had his friend Amy and he barely noticed, enamored as he was of the operating system (which wasn’t even a beautiful replicate, like the ones we saw in Blade Runner).

I realize that, sometimes, falling in love with a dream, a stranger, someone who lived in another time, isn’t a bad thing. That kind of love also gives us something very human. To imagine oneself close to that soul can be something that fills us with passion, like a timeless game in which one will never be abandoned or suffer (on the contrary, sometimes the spirit of that beloved and dead person protects us and sends us positive energy).

But we should not allow the din of our passions disorient us and make us renounce to satisfying concrete desires. Passion can make us extremely happy, but also extremely miserable.

Irina Pino

Irina Pino: I was born in the middle of shortages in those sixties that marked so many patterns in the world. Although I currently live in Miramar, I miss the city center with its cinemas and theaters, and the bohemian atmosphere of Old Havana, where I often go. Writing is the essential thing in my life, be it poetry, fiction or articles, a communion of ideas that identifies me. With my family and my friends, I get my share of happiness.

One thought on “Other Choices to Love

  • This experience sounds so familiar to me in Canada. Where people rarely talk to one another face to face, or even on a phone. Rather now we only talk on an computer screen. It has been over 10 years since I have received an actual handwritten letter… I used to have beautiful handwriting, and now I am not sure if I can even write anymore myself. And as well I have also searched for a partner on these computer dating sites. I was lonely and missed having someone in my life. I posted the truth and no one nice seemed to like me. For maybe I did not make enough money or drive a fancy sports car, or whatever. Though I do not brag of what I have nor of what I do not have. For I tell the truth. Maybe if I had posted lies then some nice woman might have liked me. I read these dating site profiles in my area every so often, and wonder how many are really true… In the past I have met a few of these internet women just for a coffee, and they walked by me a few times before I realized that this was the actual “real” person… They usually would say hi to me first. For I looked like my photo, like I “really” look. Not from a photo taken 10 years ago. I guess that they were expecting a lie as well… So I gave up on that. I do wish that I could go back to the old days of actually walking down the street and saying hello to a new person “in person” without them reaching for their cell phone thinking that I’m some pervert or criminal. For I am no threat and not that bad looking I think… Though now days most people are wearing these ear buds listening to music connected to a IPod. Or they are too busy texting to some invisible friend to actually look at a real person. And you will never get to know who I am over the internet. For I am that real person. And I do have a real life, and a real heart. I have tried this real approach even in Cuba. Though even in Cuba they are too busy or distracted my some technology in their hand. Or if not then I am just money and a tourist who can be used. It is all much the same everywhere in these modern times… And this is a sad sign of these times.

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