When I walk down the street, even here in a small seaside town on a quiet weekday in the middle of a lingering viral panic, the few people I see on my travels are busy staring at their phones. The same thing on the beach on a sunny day, when the tourists pour in and take over the place. I took a train to Tunbridge Wells last week, and everyone was completely lost in their own digital dream. Even me, and I’m not exactly a fan of technology, but I had my cheap tablet, a smidgeon of free wifi, and a chance to escape the sterile compartment and lose myself in an old film.
Because life is painfully dull, and people can’t help making unfair comparisons. Few of us know our neighbours, but some of us are friends with thousands of stranger online. Few of them really know each other, but they populate a virtual space and treat it like a community. But it’s not, it’s just another army of ghosts, the collected emotional shadows of projected personalities drawn together out of instinctual desperation.
The media does its best to compete with virtual studios and green screen effects, but they can’t disguise the drudgery of the real. Technology and lifestyle have merged together to spawn a culture so bereft of any innate value, it is beginning to consume itself. As society simplifies and reduces its potential for original thought and action, a herd-like mentality takes over the population and in time mutates into an evolutionary entropy.
We are going backwards, sucking on the virtual teat of the technocracy. We will our own demise for the point of a vacuous principle, imperceptibly delivered via highly sophisticated systems of mass influence. Rewarding the gullible and punishing the skeptic, until eventually the bias becomes the norm.
The modern day could learn a thing or two from the Myth of Narcissus, the origin of the term narcissism, an obsessive condition that involves one’s physical appearance or public perception. Much like social media I’d say, and how gossip and rumour and facile details of nobody in particular, can rock and sway the online world more than any war or natural disaster.
It’s an escape, I understand, like I say this world can seem drab. But I have a theory it’s because we stopped looking at everything around us, unless its through a lens, and then it only counts if you send it to all your friends. The people that you’ve never met, or hardly ever, who live across the globe. How exciting is the illusion, how disappointing the reality.
Humanity has become disconnected in our highly connected society. There’s a stump at the top of your spine, a lower brain, it’s far simpler and more basic and responds to sensory input. It’s instinctive like an animal, and if it likes something it wants more. The internet was designed for that stump, not you, not your consciousness or soul. We already astral project through the web, but no doubt soon there’ll be a ‘holonet,’ and then there will be no turning back.
Just remember, you are not what others see or strangers think, or fashion dictates or common knowledge predicates. You are you. Despite drowning in this technological womb, eventually you will find that if you can look away from the false mirror of our technocracy, you will be set free.