Ludic Correspondences on Love in the Time of the Internet

My friend Dada gives me a copy of Edward Said’s Orientalism for Christmas 2010.

Last week, my good friend Daryl wrote a poem that he dubbed as a rejoinder to a silly piece of verse that I penned five years ago, when I was still residing in Cebu. This is his poem:

To a dear friend,

now, even with two eyes sleeping,
no more mists and stars
in my deepest dreams,
no more peaks and oceans
to elude me.
though it was clear,
and I did,
but i never told her.

but what was lost,
somewhere in time,
found its way
in the present,
to form
no longer oceans and mists,
but of a ghost
who was never told,
Of the secret that was hidden.

Now, I shudder.

I am surprised at how my poem, infantile as it is, has struck a chord half a decade after it saw its debut online:

Even With One Eye Sleeping

Did she come to form
Mists and stars
In your deepest dreams,

A secret kept hidden,
A matter deemed distant,

Did she come to form
Peaks and oceans
To elude you?

But does it even matter,
Even with one eye sleeping,
It is clear:

If you love somebody,
Tell them.

So the remains of an otherwise forgotten site suddenly weighs like a nightmare in the present. Thus a confrontation with the obvious: of how the internet has become part of the daily experience of today’s young middle class, of how everyday life has become closely intertwined with virtual reality in ways never before imagined a few decades back. This is a scenario that has led some to believe that meaning has become “free-play and objectivity is lost in obscurity. Nothing is what it seems; or rather, anything is how you conceive it to be”: a bold claim that has certainly become fashionable these days but also something that we should take with a grain of salt. But going back to the real heart of the matter, to the question of love as posed by the two poems, I think it would suffice to quote from Daniel Stiborny’s L’Amour Inconscient:

It is a matter of a certain kind of feeling: that of being overwhelmed. There are many who have a great fear of being overwhelmed by someone; for example, someone who makes them laugh against their will, or tickles them to death, or, worse, tells them things that they sense to be accurate but which they do not quite understand, things that go beyond their prejudices and received wisdom. In other words, they do not want to be seduced, since seduction means confronting people with their limits, limits that are supposed to be set and stable but that the seducer suddenly causes to waver. Seduction is the desire of being overwhelmed and taken beyond.

This should come as a forceful reminder of Ninon de L’Enclos’ truism: “Much more genius is needed to make love than to command armies.” Love, after all, like a revolution as Mao defines it, “is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous.” It is an insurrection, a violent act by which one conquers another. But fraught as it is with difficulties, hardships, contradictions, and struggle (as everything else in this world is),“The only way,” as Oscar Wilde once said, “to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” After all, as Nietzsche said, “Whatever is done from Love always occurs beyond good and evil.”


  1. Hi Tracy! Karlo has always been a poet who knows how to capture and bury tragedies beneath layers of optimism and hope. He consoles but, at the same time, tells the truth. hehe.

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