Introspection in an age of Internet Superficiality

I read a tumblr post once, which said something to the effect of the internet being an inherently haunted place, of old conversations between kids who have now grown into their own lives and don’t recognise each another anymore, an obituary of unfinished research work or feed construction, and a constant ghostly record of a generation’s thoughts, fads, sense of humour, and guilty pleasures. Art of artists deceased centuries ago still exist, overflowing through the wires of your headphones or displaying in HD quality on your screen just at the tip and tap of your finger.

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Poltergeists of people you once liked exist there, making noise, disturbing you, and yet a tad bit out of reach, just enough to make it difficult for you to stop them. We’re all sitting in this colossal graveyard, trying to dig up dirt of days passed or uncover hidden treasures which promise an interesting future or maybe just pass the present with a faux sense of fulfilment.

But I’m not here to romanticize the Internet with Goth melancholia. I’m here to address the people in it; people who are not quite ‘living’ in the most sanguine sense of the term but existing just enough to be a nuisance to others. And no, not all of you are bad. In fact, I like some of you, and that’s rare, because being a romantic in the age of filters and fillers is not easy. Tougher yet, is to be a hypocrite and an idealist. You see, I’m not devoid of flaws, reader. I usually find myself in a position where I am. I judge harshly, insensitively. I’m you, reader.

I’m one of you who sneer at people who share ‘body positivity’ posts, one of you who are not happy in their own skin, and one of you who would probably go on to making a hurtful remark on someone else, while being oblivious to the other person’s feelings.

Temptation, and giving in to it, is one of the greatest human vices. We’re tempted to ridicule the different, the bizarre, and the abnormal. But to resist temptation is a sign of the refined mind. To acknowledge that “different”, “bizarre” and “abnormal” don’t have universal connotations is a sign of the edification. I often find myself caught between what is tempting and what is logical. To mock an action seems easier, more natural. But it is not always logical to do so. Logic doesn’t necessarily feel good, or is good, but it prevents us from being instruments of hate while using the faculties of technology as our shield.

The Internet is filled with slanderous rumours, fake news, character assassination, etc. the likes of which would probably have led to guillotine executions during the 18th century. Is joining in with it logical?

In a world where ‘social distancing’ has confined us within the four walls of our houses, and our leisure time has unearthed hobbies forgotten, talents undiscovered, interests unexplored, maybe sharing them with the world isn’t that damnable a thing after all. I know how much easier a sarcastic comment is than a genuine compliment, how convenient it is to judge than to accept. We are desensitized to humane feelings, and ignorant to the repercussions of our actions. Technological advancement has lead us into a space where the virtual world and the real world are no longer two separate entities, they’ve merged and become one space with dualities of nature but similarity of purpose, i.e. to facilitate human existence. 

Why then have we made it a graveyard, a repository of all things vile and hateful? I’m not the one to preach, for I know I’ve been a device of hate and hypocrisy myself, but I am in a conquest to consciously prevent my scorn for all things which seem ‘filter-y and filler-y’ to me. I’m in a conquest to prevent my own prejudices from being a source of unpleasantness for the ones who have felt momentary fulfilment in this haunted place.  And I sincerely believe, that if tried enough, we can transform this massive mechanism from a dead place to a place where ideas grow, art flourish, people genuinely experience fulfilment.

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