MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “social media”

Offline

There is a reason why many meditation and life-seizing coaches recommend you go offline for as much as you possibly can.

Scrolling on a screen all day steals your energy and mental clarity.

But most of all, it takes you away from life itself.

Because be it as it may, life is what is that blur that is happening around your screen. Just lift your head up long enough to devour it.

We go outdoors to breathe in fresh air; to socialise with real people; to view greener fields, bluer waters, and clearer skies; to marvel at the beauty of the world we live in.

Yet we do nothing of that.

Because even out there, we’re stuck on a screen. We’re so invested in what everyone else is doing and showing off online that we hardly exploit our ‘free’ time. As if a photo for a social post is enough to have said that we’ve done something different. Sure, photos are the concrete remnants of our memories. But there’s so much more to that. It’s all the moments we spend talking, laughing, doing things, hugging, and simply being around our loved ones that make the difference. It’s the feelings we create in those moments that cannot be captured or properly portrayed in a photograph.

So next time you’re out and about, around your favourite people (or not), put down your phone and observe the world around you.

You might just be amazed by it.

Quirk of Character

https://introvertdear.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/no_need_to_hide_by_picaresca-d41f9rj.jpg

Introverts have a higher threshold than average for letting people in. Be it in their reading lists, their diaries, their lives, their homes, their minds, their hearts. If an introvert starts babbling away to you, you should know that they trust you and feel safe enough to confide in you. It’s not an easy feat for most to achieve.

Call it trust issues if you may, but introverts believe that the people around you need to compliment your happiness, your self-appreciation, and your confidence. Well, it’s what we should all really expect of others anyway. For if someone doesn’t add value to your life, why keep them there if they’ll only make you feel worse?

The truth is, there are certain instances in life that make you reconsider your friendships; who you consider your friends to be; who really are. Because it’s the ones who stick there through the rough times; when you have nothing to say or don’t even want to; at the times it feels like the whole world is against you and you’re raging against ‘the system’. It’s those who seek you as much as you search for them. It’s those who are willing to stay around when you fall face down and will help pick you up; those who see you at your worse are also the ones who deserve to see you at your best. Because as this excellent article says, “friendships do not have to be transactional, but they should absolutely be reciprocal”. It’s not all about having fun. It’s about being there for each other in every situation.

Each person reacts to life’s problems differently. We are not all the same. We have varying idiosyncrasies, mentalities, responses. Some seek assistance anywhere they can; others prefer to close up in their own shells and wait out the storm alone. It has to do with a person’s character and that’s not easy to affect. Introverts need to be left alone. They’ll come to you for help when they’re ready. But they want to know that you’re still there until they do.

In the end it all comes down to the fact that we virtually befriend hundreds of people on social media, but choose to have only a handful around; the best ones – those who remain no matter how far you unwillingly push them out.

“Beware of those who seek constant crowds; they are nothing alone”. – Charles Bukowski

“I restore myself when I’m alone”. – Marilyn Monroe

A time forlorn

Remember how we used to look forward to our evenings and weekends to dress up, go out, meet people and have fun?

Well, hardly anyone does now either.

After almost an entire year in on-and-off lockdowns due to Covid-19, the simple pleasures of entertainment, of mingling, of even meeting someone new seem so far away.

We are now so suspicious about everyone we meet, we’ve become too uptight, too OCD-ed, and too closed up to even give someone a chance. But the thing is, no one dares take it anymore.

For single people, dating has become something that belongs to a distant past or, at best, to a hopeful future.

Dating apps have seen an increase lately with all the more people registering, hoping to “swipe right” and find a match.

But is there even a point now?

This interesting article explores how various single people have experienced online dating during this strange period. All share the same frustration of not being able to go out and meet people. Some enjoy being alone, getting to know themselves better instead and do things that fulfil them without having to think about pleasing someone else.

Others believe that if you can’t feel the sensation of being a little tipsy and flirtatiously touching someone’s arm, then there’s absolutely no point in courting a screen. For some, steamy messages are an outlet to vent the caged annoyance of all that is going on, but they caution that everyone is bored during a quarantine and nothing will last when all this is over.

Yet, others find that you might meet someone with whom you can talk deeply for hours without the physical distractions of the outside world. As such, you may even get to know each other better, and eventually feel as if you’ve spent a lifetime together.

Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to meet your match on an app. All it takes is the courage / desire to meet in person afterwards too. You never know who you’ll meet, where and when. Life is unpredictable like that.

But the real question is whether dating apps are actually worth it. Isn’t there something more constructive/useful/fulfilling to spend your time with? Wouldn’t you like to connect more with the people who are in your life even during this awkward time?

People have different needs and different ways of searching to fulfil them. But in essence what matters most is what makes each person feel good with themselves first and foremost.

The vicious circles we feed

https://c.pxhere.com/photos/e4/0b/alone_walking_night_people_city_street_lonely_stranger-731127.jpg!d

There is a place in the heart of the city where people go to disappear. It’s a place you often pass by on your daily route to work, shopping or whatever else you choose to spend you time, money and energy on. But you don’t realise they are there. You pretend not to see them. Not to know that these neighbourhoods are different.

We fear different. We oppose and react to whatever we don’t understand.

We don’t even try to change things. We simply acknowledge that they are not how they should.

And so, we continue our lives, and more people simply disappear out of theirs.

Because it is not easy to actually live. To have a life that fulfils you and completes you. People are used to existing. And documenting their existence to prove to others that they are doing things worthwhile. In reality, trying to convince themselves that they matter.

We close our eyes to those who need help. Because we don’t want to assume the responsibility of change.

And then we protest that nothing ever changes or improves. Like a vicious circle we ourselves feed.

Endless chatter

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There is a difference between saying too much and not enough. Just as there is a difference in knowing when to speak and when not.

It is Plato who said it best: “wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something”.

In an age where self-promotion is the norm, people speak more than ever. The problem though, is that they do not know when to pause.

A Zen saying goes “do not speak unless you can improve the silence”. Unfortunately, nowadays few can do that.

We observe it daily: in the ride to and from work, people are stuck in trafficking and feel the constant need to talk to someone – co-passengers, on the phone, to random strangers, salespersons, anyone they bump into – simply to consume the words they cannot suppress inside.

It may be seen as an insecurity, wanting to constantly draw attention onto oneself by speaking endlessly. But people need to realise when this becomes tiresome for others more than for themselves.

Those who speak limitlessly also tend to be those who are not comfortable in their own silence, and who subsequently try to find ways to avoid it. As such, though, they lose out on the healing process some minutes of quiet offers not only to others but to their own soul as well.

Pretending to be

http://www.mitchvane.com/site/assets/files/1191/age-virtual_life-1.480x0.jpegIn a line from the 2014 Australian theatre production of George Orwell’s best-selling novel 1984, one of the characters that works for the Government, otherwise known as Big Brother, says: “The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what’s happening”. Seventy years after the novel was written, this is more relevant and true than ever.

We are so busy trying to appear to be busy – constantly posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and all other social networks that we are not aware of what is happening in the world around us. We are so caught up in exhibiting a virtual life that we miss out on actually living one.

It is as if Orwell predicted the future, way ahead of his time. But in reality, all he did was truly comprehend human nature and its weakness – the fact that it is overwhelmed by apathy, selfishness and greed.

Orwell’s 1984 (1984 (written in 1948) is described as “one of the greatest dystopian novels every written”. “It looks at a future where people are controlled into what to think, how to act and how to live by the Government, known as Big Brother. It uses telescreens, fearmongering, media control and corruption to control the masses”. The main protagonist, however, is an initially apathetic person named Winston who “craves something more than the controlled world he inhabits”.

Crawling out of apathy has actually become a challenge.

In our current world, we are so determined to show that “we are not afraid” that we have allowed our data to be accessible almost everywhere by everyone. We cannot travel without being documented in more than one way, everything we do is entered on databases that are interlinked and our entire existence is available on a screen. You are reading this very text on one such screen.

The point is to get off it. Go out and do something. Create a life rather than pretend to have one. Read, think and live.

The misappreciation of things

http://www.businesscoachmichaeldill.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/value-of-english.jpgThere is a saying that you don’t really appreciate what you have until you have it no more. In a post-apocalyptic world we will begin to understand how lucky we are nowadays to be able to do so many things with so little effort – from house chores to work to travel. Yet, we have forgotten the value of everything that truly matters: family, relationships, education.

We don’t have time – we say – to read books. To feed our minds with something of essence, that may change the way we think and the way we view things around us. Ironically, however, we spend the major part of our days skim reading on a screen pointless articles and posts on social media.

We claim we don’t have time – or energy – to visit a museum or an exhibition, something that would increase our value as people, that would give us some cultural education, that would help us realise where we come from so we can improve where we’re going. Yet, we have the time to waste by taking tens of shots in search of the perfect selfie to post on social networks in demonstration of our idyllic lives.

We know nothing yet act as if we know everything.

We stubbornly refuse to learn and, even more, be taught by elders.

We have become a generation of people who want everything and value nothing.

And it is a shame. Because we are the future of this world. And it is not looking too bright.

The unbearable lightness of unfairness

http://elkespage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/comparing-fish-bowls.pngIn every life we have some trouble, when you worry you make it double,” sang Bob Marley (originally sung by Bobby McFerrin), prompting us to “don’t worry, be happy”.  We hear it a thousand times from a million different places: we need to stop stressing over everything so much and enjoy life as it is. But what is most difficult to grasp is the way to quickly overcome adversities. Especially when they point out every so often how unfair life is.

With the advancement of social media to the extent when at every second during the day anyone can flaunt where they are and what they’re (not) doing, this feeling is enhanced to the utmost. Especially when you see people going on trips around the world supposedly for business or some other professional “duty”, yet are acting as if they have grasped the opportunity to enhance their tourism skills on company expenses. And there are many examples. We see them everyday. From our “representative” politicians to TV personas, actors, right down to friends and colleagues.

So what do you do in such cases? When the reality of injustice smacks you in the face? Well, most people just prompt you to live out your misery for a while; let it take you over and then quietly let it fade away as you realise how much you’ve accomplished in your life and how much more you can do. They will all repeat to you that “no-one said life would be easy (or fair); they just promised it would be worth it”. So just let it be, pick up your pieces and move on. Things will turn around and you’ll get what you need eventually. What matters most is that you don’t give up.

“People are always complaining that life’s not fair, but that simply isn’t true. Life is extraordinarily fair. It’s just not centred on you” – Lynn Marie Sager

The anti-tech mute

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/13/ea/7a/13ea7a3fc1a0414aa846a48ff7c03be2.jpgHis name was Edison. He had it sculpted on a wooden plaque in his bedroom to remind himself of it.

It was years since he decided to retreat into solitude. At first, he saw it as a challenge, because he realised he was too drawn into the digital life of constant social networking, online media access, useless self-advertising and unabashed self-appreciation. He did not like the person he had become. He was hanging upon the number of likes he would receive on every post he made, on the number of followers his posts would receive, on the number of people who viewed the videos he uploaded. It was as if this invisible click by people he didn’t even know was what kept him alive. So he decided to do something radical about it. He decided to disconnect from everything and everyone. Those who really cared would find a way to contact him. Everyone else did not matter.

For two years, he had devised a lifestyle where his talk was limited to simple daily transactions to meaningless chit-chat with neighbours and co-workers. Everything else, was typed on a laptop.

One day, however, he woke up with a strange feeling. He felt his vocal chords had gone numb. He could not utter a sound. Was it true that you could forget how to talk if you didn’t speak?

He tried to shout, to scream, to say something, to whisper even, but nothing came out. Not even a screech.

He felt all his other senses heightened. As though the lens in his eyes with which he viewed the world had suddenly zoomed in and he witnessed everything in more detail, more clearly and with greater analysis. He began to notice things people did that he failed to see before. The level and tone of voice they used to speak to each other. He could comprehend simply by the sound and intensity of their voices and their body language what these people felt about each other. And he acknowledged that as a people we have become more aggressive, more aggravated, are more stressed and in constant agitation.

When he went home that night, he turned on his laptop, opened a new document and began to type. He may not have been able to speak at the moment, but that in itself made a fantastic theme for his new book: the new-age entrepreneur who became an anti-tech mute. He would find a way to raise a warning about the dangers he saw unfolding. And he would do so the only way he knew how.

The screen that unites us

https://img.clipartfest.com/cff882c695c65e98e3882a6a62ee1d15_-online-chat-clip-art-1-online-chat-clipart_400-400.jpegYou might in essence be talking to a screen, but it’s beyond that: you’re engaging with the people who for some reason or other can’t be physically with you at that moment. The range and evolution of new technology nowadays allows you to contact at any place and any time people who may be situated miles away.

It enables you to share your news, to ask for help, to learn how to do things together – such as cook a meal, bake a cake, or even sew, no matter the distance that physically separates you.

There are some things you just know. And there are some people who can see those things without you really having to say anything. Parents are people like that. People who know when you need help even when you’re not asking for it. People who understand you are not well, no matter how much you try and hide it. People who will reassure you and make you feel better, even when you insist that everything is fine.

And it is at moments like those when you acknowledge the importance and dependence we have on technology and social media. Because if used right, it diminishes the miles and brings you home.

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