I’m what I call a ‘selective recluse’. I live in my own,isolated corner of society and only come out to mingle when something catches my attention that is sweeter than my solitude. I left Facebook in 2011 when I realized that it had run its course; in the beginning,when I signed up, it was vibrant and alive. People were actually human beings and not just ‘account holders’. A ‘like’ actually meant a like. There were no follow-bait or click-bait where people do anything to get noticed. Then this need, this lowly egotistical darkness took over. It started out as a tiny blot in the caveats of our flawed human nature, as part and parcel of flaws that makes us beautiful and humble. The flaws and imperfections that teach us how to love, that kind of flawed.
But then this need I mentioned, it took on a life of its own. It grew like a cancerous cell that permeated the human element and turned everything into shiny surfaces that looked good. Nothing grows on shiny surfaces. No warmth, no kindness,no empathy. So this thing, this vain monster became the pivotal point around which society circumvoluted; everything was now based on this decadent trend. You look yourself in the mirror and all you see is how selfie-ready you look like, how many likes you could garner – how to make yourself forget that you’re a human with flaws. So then, arrogance and haughtiness enters the picture. You look down on anyone who doesn’t look like selfie-material. Essentially, flawed,mistake-prone,warm,loving,hurting,laughing human beings – the way a human is supposed to be sans the whole facade of perfection and glamour.
You see someone in need and the first instinct is to make fun of the person on twitter. You see a dying person and the first thing you do is instagram it and tell others how you were there. Life unfolds in front of you and you never process it, you don’t really experience it. It gets lost in the countless statuses and tweets that are all about the limelight.
There are wars erupting, a deadly virus pandemic looming over us, a sinister elite who push the envelope to advance its interests; but the capacity to bear the brunt of these events and let it stir emotions in us; compassion,grief,anger – anything, is numbed. It was obliterated by that shiny surface.
How can we practice compassion for others when we are constantly critiquing ourselves and judging our worth by our social media presence? How can we be concerned about the turmoil and disturbances going on around us when we are trying so hard to ignore our inner turmoil?
What’s going on in the world is a reflection of what is going on inside of each and every one of us. We aren’t all that different. Language barriers and borders only act as physical boundaries, but we are bound by our collective psyche.
Now, I’m not saying that being on social media is reflective of one’s egotism or that being conscientious entails being a recluse like me. Not at all. I’m a recluse because I’m very sensitive and get overwhelmed easily, so my interests are inclined away from clamour. I’m sure if I wasn’t as easily perturbed, that I’d partake in it, in one form or another. But it’s by being on the outside that I can analyse this phenomenon somewhat objectively. I don’t think social media created this mess, it merely brought it out. So it’s not about changing venues or stop taking selfies; it’s about something deeper whence all of this is stemming from. That is what we should investigate in ourselves.