MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “social media”

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.

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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.

RSVP

http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/wwfeatures/wm/live/624_351/images/live/p0/2k/4q/p02k4qwr.jpgWhen sent a form of communication – be it an email, an SMS, an instant message, a written letter, a pigeon, a Morse code or smoke signals – it is always good manners to respond. Regardless of whether there was a direct question involved.

The same implies for when someone is addressing you with an issue of some sort. Maybe they want your opinion on something, maybe they are asking for your input, or maybe they simply want to share their experience with you. But in all cases, they expect that you will respond in some sort of way.

Otherwise, if you don’t even have the courtesy to nod in acknowledgement that you are registering what they’re saying, it is easy to misunderstand or rather, conclude (either rightly or wrongly), that the other person is simply not interested.

If you care enough, you find the means, the time, and the way to respond.

The French have even globalised a polite abbreviation for it – Répondez S’il Vous Plait (RSVP). OK, you might not really want to respond to something, but it is merely polite to simply acknowledge receipt of the communication and fire up a minimum five-word response. It takes up much more of your time trying to edit a photo to upload on social media, or scrolling through social networking sites.

It is a shame that in the so-called digital era all this technology has in fact made us so anti-social.

Don’t sing too often

http://f.tqn.com/y/buddhism/1/W/B/B/-/-/453331569.jpg

In these contemporary times, where everything is public and in plain sight, there is the prevailing sentiment that everyone wants what’s best for you, as long as it’s not better than what they have. Jealousy is a nasty thing. Envy is even worse.

According to the ancient Greek poet Callimachus, “jealousy is the daughter of self-love and inseparable sister of envy and malice.”

Jealous people are often insecure, feeling inferior towards others, or desiring something that the other has. But jealousy is a negative emotion, transmitting a gloomy aura.

Paulo Coelho says “never hate jealous people. They are jealous because they think you are better than them”. The simple knowledge of this fact should suffice.

But there is something more.

Sometimes we are the ones who provoke this so-called “evil eye”, because we so want to share our good fortune, our happiness and optimism with others. In the era of social networking and continuous (digital) exposure, however, this isn’t exactly the best option.

There is a relevant story on precisely this: once upon a time, there was this little sparrow, who while flying south for the winter froze solid and fell to the ground. And then to make matters worse the cow crapped on him, but the manure was all warm and it defrosted him. So there he is, he’s warm and he’s happy to be alive and he starts to sing. A hungry cat comes along and he clears off the manure and he looks at the little bird and then he eats him. And the moral of the story is this: everyone who craps on you is not necessarily your enemy, and everyone who gets you out of crap is not necessarily your friend, and if you’re warm and happy no matter where you are you should just keep your big mouth shut.

There are some people who draw misery out of the happiness of others. There are those who instead of turning jealousy into a productive impulse to become better themselves, convert it into envy and attempt to darken the lives of others. So perhaps let us rather see how we can make our own souls brighter, stirring from within us the change and improvement we seek, and let’s try to envy others less, as they may be managing to do exactly what we hesitate to act upon.

Living with/in social media

asocial-networkingIn an age where everything is public, everything also inevitably affects us no matter how much we deny it. We are so hooked on our digital existence that we really can’t see to be without it. It is as if we don’t exist unless we document our actions and share it online for the world to see. No matter how trivial or silly these may be.

The problem with social media nowadays is that nothing is truly private anymore. The confines of personal space and data have become blurred. Once information is “out there” it can literally never be retrieved and re-hidden, regardless of how much it is deleted.

We live in a period when our pass-time is spying on one another online. We may never speak in real life, but have the closest virtual connections and know all about one another’s life – or at least the image we each want to portray – solely from what we post online. Fake or real, our lives have been transferred onto a screen, be it big or small. And it is in that, however, that we’ve lost our human emotion in an attempt to gain more communication. The digital evolution has undoubtedly advanced communication through the certainty granted by the distance provided by the screen, and the time allowed to work on the expression of your views; because otherwise we would seemingly drown in all those things that would have been left unsaid. Yet, filling up with words and flagrant demonstrations of actions, we have become void of sentiment. We have lost the ability to talk, to gaze into the other person’s eyes and speak without saying a word. To understand through the tone of their voice, the message of their heartbeat. To comprehend their state of mind, simply by observing their body language. There are so many things that a screen can still not convey.  And it is through this smartphone and digital media addiction, that we have brought upon us the death of conversation, panicking like drug addicts experiencing withdrawal symptoms when we are found without a device in hand. It is a necessary evil of the modern age, but like everything in life, we need to be able to control and take hold of it. Not allow it to be the other way around.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Panic

Chasing Pokémon

http://c.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/imagecache/inline-large/inline/2016/07/3061764-inline-i-2-pokemon-go-is-the-most-addicting-app-in-years-and-heres-why-it-matters.jpg“Come on, we need to catch ‘em now!”  Mitch grabbed his phone and headed towards the door. His anxiety was evident as his hand transferred his tremor onto the open door. His wife did not share the agony.

She still hadn’t caught the two Pokémon hiding in the house.

But Mitch saw there were many more outside roaming the neighbourhood. It was obvious from the number of cars parked in the street and the hoard of dazed young people walking around like zombies searching for imaginary creatures that appeared randomly on their phones.

With every vibrate, you would hear a scream and then witness a leap forward.

They were all obviously seeing something that any person out of the Pokémon Go loop would not understand.

People had been caught Pokémon & driving, which was far worse than drunk driving because at least in the latter case the driver’s eyes were on the road, even if his/her mind wasn’t.

People had been falling over, bumping into trees, with each other, or even being hit by cars exactly because they were too busy being dragged around the routes depicted on their phone, rather than be aware of their actual surroundings.

But there were also those who found friends, even romance, through the Pokémon gatherings. Those who discovered excitement in this shared habit, no matter how addictive it got.

Mitch was still impatient. His wife had now slid under the bed and was desperately trying to throw a ball at a Pikachu sneering at her from the corner.

“Will you please hurry up?” Mitch called out.

Martha stepped in through the open door. She was about to apologise for being late because of the traffic that had gathered in the area. But when she saw what was going on with the owners of the house she was employed to maintain in order, her jaw dropped. The disorder was reminiscent of the impact of an earthquake. Even the couch – which she so dexterously vacuumed around – had been displaced.

“Will you finally go to work and stop chasing imaginary creatures, please?” she blurted out. That was just the moment the wife appeared triumphantly, waving her phone with a picture of a captured yellow creature on screen.

Martha sighed.

That was when Mitch’s father showed up at the doorstep and said “where can I plug in my phone, there is one little bugger that’s about to get away?”

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Carefree

Forced smiles, fake laughs

http://www.veneto-explorer.com/images/350xNxeyeswildresized.jpg.pagespeed.ic.KnvlBU8W0z.jpgDo you remember what the last thing you read today was? Or what you were most recently discussing? Do you even recall what the last song you were listening to was?

We are constantly bombarded with so much information, we don’t have time to process it all. We pass our days skimming through texts and articles and by the end, we’ve already forgotten what we were reading about.

The same goes for the discussions we have. We often nod, as if we are paying attention to what our interlocutor is going on about, or as if we even remember what we were even talking about to begin with. Our topics of conversation become superficial and insubstantial. They are interesting enough to keep our attention for a few seconds, and then that distraction kicks in again.

We lose interest too soon. Isn’t that a sign of a society in disintegration? Of a life that becomes so superfluous that it keeps requiring things to keep its adrenaline high?

Do you even remember the last time you really enjoyed something? The last time you literally laughed with your heart? When you got lost in the moment you were living, forgetting about everything else?

We live at a time when we are surrounded by forced smiles and fake laughs. We have become so accustomed of hitting the “like” button online, that this has become a measure of our popularity, as if this is the only thing that matters for our existence.

We live our lives behind a mask, or maybe behind an abundance of them. To the extent that we sometimes don’t remember what it was like to be without one. What it is like to be genuine, carefree, and real.

It’s easy to put on a mask. Taking it off is the hard part.

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