|Einstein: stage name, Nostradamus.|
I'm temped to hate the world because...
Life is a computer. Believe me, I note the hypocrisy in that statement as I sit here typing this blog, which I will post on the internet. Still, I can't help but feel that the extensive use of technology in this day and age has resulted in a world that looks and feels as authentic as The Sims. Know this: I don't want to be an avatar.
The growing addiction to existence via internet is one that obviously shapes our way of life. Relationships are maintained via text message, and face to face conversation -- Skype doesn't count-- has become a thing of the past. Suddenly, we are fleshless. Although we are not faceless, those faces we project are false. We strategically stage our profile pics to represent us, and these deliberate visual opuses are our own personal mirages-- Me as I want to be perceived. We are building the Matrix of protected, hypnotizing illusion as we volunteer for inauthenticity and ignore the greater mechanism of intra-space that we have come to serve. As I witness preceding generations ignore or raise their eyebrows at this new, modern, synthetic Network, my own generation voluntarily mutate, and those that follow automatically absorb, I get a little... worried. With everything happening on the computer, iPad, iPhone, is there any use for humans left?
As insecurity is an existential bitch- the true source of all evil-- our substance has paid the forfeit of our personal shames. We don't present who we are; we present who we want people to think we are. Our Facebook or Match.com profiles, our Instagram photos, are well-crafted fictions and-- to add to my last article-- plastic surgery for our cyber-face. Our "Interests" and "Likes" are chosen to promote our own awesomeness: "I am cool, see!" Our status updates and bios are a contemporary example of the proverbial writings on the wall: "I'm here! Acknowledge me!" And Sweet Jesus, the selfies!!! There isn't a night out, a day in, or an afternoon "brunch" at Denny's that doesn't become a situation of a thousand pictures. (And be sure to "tag" your friends, so people know that they are super-trendy, active people too).
|Selfies "fail," Amanda Bynes. But we hear your SOS.|
It's a wonder that anyone trusts these venues of communication (?) at all, perhaps most specifically when fishing for romantic prospects. One should already know not to believe what is said, written, or implied on eHarmony or Plenty of Fish. Our inter-dentities are masks in a tease in a lie. For every cleavage enhanced, cutie-face, arm-length self portrait of a grown "woman" trying to convince the opposite sex that she is a desirable, sexy, adorable girly-girl who just wants to have fun, I can assure you that there are just as many psychologically confused, lonely, emotionally fragile females that will eventually nag you and-- shocker-- want to do more than bump euphemisms. Additionally, over-grown, laid-back frat boys or supposedly worldly and sensitive gents are liable to be as high-maintenance, needy, and flawed, as the day is long (and said euphemisms short. Ha ha). The American Dream is a photograph: a two-dimensional home for your desires that will never live and breathe because it is a computer screen. Hey, at least it's safe sex.
So, how does one connect? How, when one does not establish relationships in person but via text, email, or FB Message? How, when we "break the ice" via Chat and not by chatting over drinks? Are dating websites a necessary evil of our Facebook forward society or are they just contributing culprits? I can never bring myself to sign up for an account on Match, no matter how violently friends may try to twist my arm-- live friends, mind you. It feels too much like an admission that something bigger has conquered us. Not to mention, it feels a Hell of a lot like going on Amazon and buying a boyfriend: search for product, compare options, check affordability, "Buy with 1-click." Naturally, you can always return if the purchase is faulty. Where is the fun in meeting someone in person for the 'first' time or going on a 'first' date when you already know all of the statistics and have nothing left to discover?
Compounding this issue is the fact that what post-internet hook-up, live-action daters 'know' about each other is merely a projection of their own fantasies as embellished by their date's profile triggers. Hence, your escort studies up on "You," creates the version of 'You' that he (or she) wants most in his own mind, you encourage this vision for the first few dates maybe, and then 'You' starts to show the real you. "Uh-oh", thinks your date. '"You' is not you?" Now you both have to start all over again, cutting through the bull-sh*t fiction of the publicized 'Yous' and uncovering the real yous. As such, the presentation of the dating site becomes more of an impediment than a bridge to intimacy. The effort of misleading, then revealing, then apologizing, then re-trying, is a fairly exhausting endeavor, and the results don't seem to be any more impressive than those couples who meet in reality.
|Proof that texting is bad: the Hiltons do it. Nigel looks embarrassed.|
The demon-seed at the center of this is that we have become all too focused on the great wonder of "I." With free markets to promote ourselves and publicize our thoughts, we blast away. We get our ideas out there. Not necessarily a bad thing, but when posited in a vein of pure self-interest or the begging of social accolade (Likes, Hearts, Status comments), we seem to be taking less and less interest in anyone else. Our sensitive, sad souls seek adoration, and because we all rule from our private kingdoms of "I'm right, you're wrong," we have the protection of the computer screen from any disagreeing predators. We don't have to listen to other people or converse with them. We just word vomit and pat ourselves on the back. We continue to annoy each other and isolate ourselves. Why shouldn't we? It is far too irritating witnessing the emo High-Schooler post his latest favorite lyric to whatever sh*t band claims to be deeper than everyone else. It's also depressing when the updated profile pic of a 22-year-old woman (but really 34) pops up on the feed. These attempts to impress rarely end in anything other than eye-rolling or pity stares. "My stories, my friends, are better and more interesting than yours." I like to call this effect Narcissus Masturbari.
Isolation... It is sad to witness a group of friends scrolling through their phones, trying to find ways to implement themselves or gain recognition, when they could just lift their heads and open their mouths. Your people are right in front of you! Why go out if you're just going to 'go in?' And to the fake playas who stalk members of the opposite sex on the internet-- putting out little sexual inferences and bites in the hope that someone will reel in the bait-- stop being so skurred. Fear of rejection has resulted in a mish-mash of pathetic tip-toeing and immature flirting with a question mark. "Hi? #Um" Of course, these half-hearted sneak attacks dull the harsh burn of rejection. You can simply shut your computer off and pretend the rebuff to your "maybe, whatever, I dunno" invitation to sexting never happened.
Admittedly, I'm as big a culprit as anyone else. I too am a self absorbed tool. I can honestly say that I don't really have the time to give a hoot what anyone else is up to most days. If you aren't in the top three updates on my FB feed, I'm not going to see you. I'm just signing on to check my messages/notifications and maybe make some wry, self-absorbed comment that I think is funny, but probably no one other than my mom will either a) laugh at or b) take note of. I am mere existential lunch caught in "the web." For shame.
Yes, I am tempted to hate the world...
But I don't, because...
There is no pure or brilliant thing in existence that isn't/hasn't been corrupted. Yes, Tweet-addiction is a serious problem, but it's also the way we humans roll. For example, just because certain people choose to gorge on Big Macs [she says as she inserts another... pomme fritte into her greasy mouth] doesn't mean the rest of the world should be robbed of that horribly bad goodness every once in awhile. Well, I guess that was a bad example, but you get what I'm saying. Anything in overabundance is dangerous. That doesn't make the thing itself bad. It just makes us greedy mother-effers that need to calm the eff down. (Eff).
As I have lately been diving head-first into the realms of various dot.coms-- did you know that Instagram and Pinterest are two very different things???-- I have gained a lot of respect for the channels of communication that they open up. This is what the world wide web, one assumes, was built for-- the exchange of information. It has become an efficient service for delivering ideas. Friends-- real and fake-- post articles, videos, songs, and even random thoughts that I wouldn't have encountered on my own. Thus, an impressive conversation actually is happening between humans, but it is more of a silent one. It is one mind whispering a thought to another, and the receiver soaking it in and computing its meaning on their own terms. Thus, the internet, at its best, makes us think, create, and even challenge each other-- even if that challenge is to simply be more social or to be a bigger part of those around us. One should participate in these dialogues, not just to keep up, but to keep contributing to the human race.
If it weren't for Facebook, I never would have seen this article.
The problem we're having with regard to our increasingly interpersonal disconnect has nothing to do with the synthesized social network but with our own human weakness. We rely on these medias far too much to play the pumped-up ids to our shriveled little egos. As in any of mankind's well-crafted tools, there are those who will use it to "build," those who will fear it, those who will corrupt it, and those who will simply use it to make noise and various other nonsense. The power, as per usual, is totally in our hands. The point is to be a social server and not a personal slave.
Yes, even if I am a sad little blogger who offers her mad scientist rhetoric into the vacant nothingness of cyber-space, that is not where I live. That is simply where I exhale sometimes. I guess that is what my deceivingly complex and bottomless Mary Poppins dumpster bag of a computer is there for. As such, I'd like to think that my hands are comparatively clean. I'd like to think I spend more time high-fiving loved ones than "poking" them-- (if only because the latter can read as a very disturbing sexual threat).
With all the access we are given today to people, places, and things that would have remained forever foreign to us in past generations, I remind myself to be thankful and not spiteful of the ease with which I am able to gain information. It may make me lazy, but at least it makes me think. As long as introverted mind expansion is coupled with public extroversion, the tight-wire walk of social media can be a friend and not an enemy.
Yes, FB, Tweet, Blogger [sheepish face], are all organs of a great and intimidating psycho hose beast. To Hell with it. At least they're teaching us to "share."
If it weren't for Facebook, I wouldn't have had
instant access to this photo, nor the ability
to prove how much better mynephew is than yours.