Connecting: How We Form Social Bonds and Communities in the Internet Age

The “realist kind of reality is, indeed, that which works directly upon our personal characters, so that our minds and heads are affected, even changed”.

Mary Chayko in her book Connecting: How We Form Social Bonds and Communities in the Internet Age, questions how mental phenomena sits within our understanding of the physical everyday. Firstly we must look at Cooley’s statement that mental images are “the most vivid things in our experience”[1]. He goes as far to believe that they are as real than any physical phenomena; mental life is the “most real and dominate aspect of society”. Here he is reflecting on how we connect with each other; suggesting that our connection is only real when we are “imaginable in people’s minds”[1]. Drawing on this Chayko claims that there is then no surprise that mental images of fictional characters, the deceased or people far away have “a great deal of social reality for us”[1]. When we finish a great book we feel a loss for the characters, a sadness that the book is over, Chayko suggests that this is due to how the characters influence us. If they have created an influence on us then they have a greater social reality to the reader. Chakyo says we do more than just identify with a character, instead we, in a fundamental way, feel as though we truly know them; they do not just remind us of ourselves or the people we know and we begin to class them as more than just representations in our minds.

[1] Chayko, M. (2002) Connecting: How We Form Social Bonds and Communities in the Internet Age. SUNY

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