The online world even further increases the number of our masks, as it offers us the possibility to assume a new identity, that is, the online personality. This is the mask that we hold up in front of us when we are online. A lot of us have several of such masks, meeting the demands of the specific online communities we are in connection with. The online masks used in cyberspace play an increasingly important role at the new generation, the Facebook-community when they formulate their own identity.
The online personality is necessary to protect its bearer against the dangers of the new world, or to place the bearer into a position that the individual would never be able to achieve in the real world.
At more and more members of the Facebook generation we witness that they increasingly identify with their online personality. These masks are so closely attached to them, the persons so strongly identify with their masks that they have already forgotten about their original face. It affects the relationship of these people with others.
Supermarket and the Santa Claus Feeling
Our real identity is, however, hidden deeply under these masks. The glue of identification fixes these daily masks on us so powerfully that we feel almost entirely the same as the masks. The insistence of the Facebook-generation on their masks is a lot more powerful than the way most ordinary people stick to their own daily masks.
The reason why they tend to insist on their a masks more powerfully than other people is that these young people do not need to face the disappointments and suffering of the real world, as they can be anyone in the fantasies of the cyberworld. If they dislike any of their online masks, they can quickly make a new one, or they are present in cyberspace with several masks, even opposing ones, at the same time. They submerge into a world that they have themselves created and where their possibilities are endless. That is how they drift farther and farther away from the Miracle, and sink even deeper into a dream, a cyber-dream.
Some young people, however, have already reached the boundaries of that cyber-dreamworld, and they talk about strange experiences.
I have recently read the confessions of two teenage boys about how they see the world now and what their ideas about it are.
One of them says the following:
”I called my experience the supermarket-feeling. Not that it overcomes me in supermarkets only. Sometimes I have it at school celebrations or in the middle of a railway station. I do not think I sense it coming, or it overcomes me because I do one particular thing that triggers it, it simply occurs. Then I am standing there in a supermarket, and lots of people with their shopping trolleys march before me–the whole life. While I am standing there, I feel like crying. There is only one question left in me there, and that is: ’Why?”
The confession of another young person:
”Do you remember, when we were finally told that Santa Claus was not real, it was just a big game, in which everybody participated, parents, teachers, older brothers, absolutely everybody? Just when the big secret was revealed, were we able to return to our normal daily activities, without playing roles and whispering into ears behind the back of others. I saw the world in a similar way. Everything was very mysterious, like a big game, that was the only way it could be, and in no other way. Everybody cooperated, everybody played their role very well. Every human being, the Earth, the oceans and the stars, was involved in the great game. Only I was not; not yet. I unconsciously realized, more and more clearly, that I had to wait for that revelation. I started to hope strongly that I would be able to see through the scene, and then real life would begin for me finally. But, as opposed to the tale of Santa Claus, nobody ever calls you to tall you the secret. I had to make the discovery myself, I was sure. Only then would the confusion in connection with appearance and reality clear up. There is no other way.”