It is interesting to contemplate how often we are deluded or at least mistaken about love and the possibility of companionship with someone. I was sitting here thinking that this particular fact might have quite a lot to do with why many people are tempted into the idea that sex is a substitute for love or that sex can be purchased. Perhaps they are not tempted, per se, but are figuring that if one is going to be mistaken and deluded anyway, why not enjoy the delusion, knowingly and willingly. That would certainly go a long way toward explaining the world's oldest profession. Nevertheless, it's not just sex. It's love, intimacy, companionship, belonging, and social acceptance of a sort that people are wanting and willing to fake it if they have "too much" difficulty acquiring those values in actuality. I got a perverse curiosity flare and did a search on the phrase "rent a girlfriend." It got forty million, one hundred thousand hits. There are actual online services that will allow one to "rent" a fake, online "girlfriend," osstensibly, one who will play games and interact on social media with a customer. I don't know whether I am more horrified or amused or saddened at the thought.
It's a drug. The fakes, replacements, "supplements," and substitutes for love, intimacy, connection come in so many forms it boggles the mind. Heck, I only started off thinking about the direct substitutes when this came to mind: pornography, prostitution of various flavors, "rentable internet girlfriends," etc., but I come to realize that there are so many more that the scope of the phenomenon becomes almost incomprehensible. I'll cop to having indulged in porn, from a ridiculously young age. It's funny the extent to which I formerly never considered it a substitute for other, more real values. I was twelve or thirteen when I had my first subscription to Oui Magazine. How does one indulge in substitution when one is too young even to fully understand the thing for which one is seeking a substitute? The thing is, there are so many other "drugs" available. I was surprised when L. asserted that the World of Warcraft and Rift and other MMORPG's were a substitute — that exploring an alien, fantasy world is just another outlet for the masculine desire to explore and "win" a woman. The truth of the assertion was self-evident to me as soon as I heard the words. I knew that the pleasure I found in playing those games stimulated the same parts of my psyche that are gratified enjoying a woman's company. I was a bit dumbfounded to discover that.
There are so many ways to drug ourselves out of the present moment and to substitute artificial realities for our enjoyment. Is it no surprise to anyone that we all sample the lotus blossom from time to time in various forms? Even things like "work," and "self improvement" can be used in such a fashion, they can become a delusion, a fake and an excuse for avoiding or failing to pursue other values. I've seen that as well. I see the pattern even in things like the Austrian Business Cycle: the allure of the idea that money equals value, that "free" fiat money and credit somehow are wealth or investment. It makes me wonder why human beings seem to be so much better at inventing these elaborate substitute values rather than actually investing in acquiring the real values themselves.