There is nothing social about social media. The concept is grounded in a conceptual theology that being online puts the world at your fingertips. Social media is here to help you engage in conversations with people from across the world. You can meet literally anyone online from the desserts of Australia to the rigid temperatures of Iceland. But what is so social about typing on a keyboard and staring at a screen?
The past 2 years of what can only be described as a shit storm has definitely taken me on a personal journey of self discovery. From the onset of the scandemic that has turned even the smartest people into walking zombies I have found my footing amidst a society that has embarked on a downward spiral of online hate and discrimination. This online world has crippled my sense of self and I have come to realize that social media was devised as a means to separate and bring forth a demise of the essence of what it is to be human on a global scale.
Mass collateral damage
Back in 2007 Fakebook was introduced onto the scene and we all scampered onto the platform like ravenous heroin addicts. Our human tendency to “spy” on people from our past and to compare our lives became what I believe to be a cult unlike no other. We would scour the search feature trying to find people whom we have zero interest in being friends with in real life but somehow feel propelled to be “friends” with online. I know this because I was one of these fiends. Always searching and spending copious amounts of time wanting to know what they look like, where they travel to, who they married, what they drive, on and on like a hamster on a wheel. This produced an obsession of living online and constantly checking in to see where they themselves “checked in”. It became a melting pot of broken and sad humans unable to face their own lives. It broke me on so many levels it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that it almost snuffed out the light in my own life. An obsession more powerful than my own food addiction. A cycle I deep down inside knew I had to stop.
From Fakebook to Twitter and everything in between social media promised and emphasized our “connection to each other” on a global scale. We could at the drop of a pin connect with people from across the planet. This was the way of the future. To have accessibility to places and people we never had before. To “travel” to places we could never get to before. To “experience” life outside of ourselves. To boldly go where we only dreamt of before. Promises made to further stroke our own egos. And we all fell for it. I myself would focus my attention on my screen rather than what was in front of me. Because what was in front of me made me feel inadequate in a world created to make you feel inadequate. I fell for this trap. I loathed my own life because it didn’t match everyone’s highlight reel. I focused so much of my time and energy on everyone else I lost touch with myself.
This became a true reality until the scandemic made an appearance and I was forced to sit with myself and exhume my past with a magnifying glass. It wasn’t until I was forced to withdrawn my children from school that I was exposed to the damage already done. The years spent expecting someone else to raise my children because I was so focused on my own journey of my ego. The years of trying to keep up with the Jones’. To keep everyone’s else perception of me and my family as pristine and pure as to not cast doubt on my own parenting. To focus with undivided attention to what I had contributed to creating without knowing the damage it had caused.
Some may say I am being melodramatic but I would argue that is how gaslighting tactics are used to keep everyone in a box. My past experience in my youth made me question all authority including my parents. I was what some may call, a “troubled” youth. A social outcast as it were as I never fit into any mold. I experimented with fashion, body modification as well as mind modifications and never abided well to rules or governance. I was lost and the social media exposure made me feel like I belonged. Even though in my core I knew I didn’t. But nonetheless I towed the line. Until I no longer could.
How to cure a troubled mind
Let’s face it we all have demons and our little bitty itty shitty committee always makes an appearance. In a society so focused on external gratification we loose ourselves in screens and living precariously through other peoples lives. We constantly compare our stature and positions like trophies we place on our invisible mantels. We force ourselves to do things we don’t want to do because we feel like we have no choice. Besides, what will our friends and family think of us should they ever see us for who we really are?!
While I agree there is a time and place to share online (as I write this blog post to share on my website) and it has truly brought people together like never before however it also exhibits nefarious undertones of control. The control tactics are simple and only require one thing, a troubled human mind. Enter onto the scene every single human trying to live a fulfilling and happy life. So how do you escape and find your place in this merry go round of ego addicts? Turn off your screens.
There is no need to overcomplicate your life. What we think we need gets confused with what we are told we need. The mind is easily controlled as even history shows. Look at mass cult followings or even Hollywood. How many of us live our evenings binge watching how others live their lives and wake up each morning hating our own? In the end YOU CHOOSE to watch these shows just as much as you choose what you eat and how you dress. Everything is a choice. You can choose to live an unfulfilled, joyless and meaningless existence or you can choose to change your life but that choice is always yours to make. So what will you choose today?
I will never tell anyone what they should do but rather would implore you to take a closer look at your life as it is today. Are you tired? Are you scared? Are you lost? Questions I have struggled with myself as I’m sure everyone does at one point or another. There is no magic pill. There is no shortcut. There is no quick fix. But there is today and the here and now. And the here and now is all we have. Watching reality with my own eyes brought me to this stage in my life. And sadly obsessing over other peoples lives took me so far away from my own that I became lost. I am slowly finding my way back again. My way back to my own life. To doing things that bring me joy and happiness. To being fully present in the here and now. It’s a daily practice but with time I have removed myself from external gratifications in the form of likes and reposts. I am by no means perfect and sometimes get sucked back in. But I’m only human. And I’m trying.
Bringing Social back
I have had people reach out to me in the last year and wonder why I have lost touch with them. Why I no longer post online and share my life. Why have I become a recluse and a hermit? Funny that we think if we no longer share our days events on some social media platform we aren’t being social. To tell you the truth I have met more people in the last two years alone than I have in my entire life! I have formed new friendships and relationships with those around me in person. We have shared conversations and dinners and adventures that will stay with me a lifetime. I have dropped social media and have gone back to actually being social.
Being in the presence of others has brought back a joy that I lost years ago. Having removed myself from the world of online comparisons has gotten me closer with my family and with nature. I spend my days in close contact with the world around me on a whole new level. With new eyes and a new appreciation for what makes us human. Connection. I love my life. I love myself. And I love this new path of reclaiming my life. I am learning every day to be in the world, but not of the world. This is no small task but I embrace it. I embrace where I am right here and now.
Like I mentioned before I have become more social than ever before. My search for truth and finding myself has brought people into my life for which I am forever grateful. Although I have lost many along the path as I’m sure many of us have. I have no regrets for where I am on my journey. It is after all only mine to travel on. It may appear that I have removed myself from the world but in fact I am more aware of it then ever. Are you?
In a conflict between the heart and the brain
Follow your heartSwami Vivekananda