If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it… does it still make a sound?
This is an old philosophical question which dates back to the year 1710. Much to your delight and satisfaction, I’m not actually here to discuss the ins and outs of this debate (I don’t even think it’s a debate: scientifically it makes a sound, whether ignorant humans are there to perceive it as noise or not. Also, glad the tree fell by itself without any wretched human feeling the need to destroy it and all the ecosystems within it. I feel like I’m digressing…)
Today I’m using this philosophical question as an analogy.
- If we go on a trip to a beautiful place with stunning scenery, a serene atmosphere and we are surrounded by nothing but us, or perhaps by the people we love… did we actually go there if we didn’t post a picture of it on Instagram?
- Did we really go to that event looking fabulous if there is no Facebook evidence of it?
- And of course, how on Earth could I actually be having a crappy day unless Twitter knows all about it?
The confession is that I am well and truly guilty of all of the above. Social media plays on our addictive personalities. The more I post on Instagram, the more I find myself thinking about it. It truly is a vicious cycle. Several people, myself included, have even adopted sort of social media personalities. I have touched on this on previous posts, but when we put photos and statuses up, we do it in a way in which we want the outside world to perceive us, using our phone/ computer screens as a barrier. On Instagram, everyone has glittering lives. Even I do. On Instagram… I’m bloody gorgeous. Bad hair day? What even is that? I have a lovely family and I’m sure we never argue. My relationship is beyond idealistic. I’m regularly going to great places with great people and eating great food. England is always sunny. And as my captions would reflect, hilarity is stamped into my genes (the latter is perhaps true).
Social media traps us in an intricate web of lies. Most of us know this as well. Yet what do we do the first time we meet a hot guy/ girl? We add them on Facebook for the obligatory flick through their profile pictures. I’ve had it where I’ve been somewhere, or just been bored, and actively thought about how I would portray certain events on social media. Step back a minute. How warped is that kind of thinking?!
Around this time last year, that popular YouTube Video was released called ‘Look Up’. (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY) I think it really does highlight how defective our society has become with less in touch with reality and more in touch with the internet… and although in my opinion, the latter half of the video is cheesy and overdone, it does demonstrate the message.
There is so much in the world for us to love, absorb and enjoy without having to fulfil this society-bred need of having to take photos of it all and send them around the world. Isn’t it nice to just enjoy the company of others without having to let everyone know that it is happening? I’m all for the memories but with social media, it’s only too easy to cross the line.
And I cannot help but notice how obsessed the world of social media is on the most seemingly insignificant matters of life. Take for instance, Kylie Jenner’s blue hair. And fake/not fake lips. When Solange kicked Jay-Z in a lift. Even Politicians have been swept into moulding their personalities into ones that can be ‘liked’ all over social media. I’ve been seeing that photo of David Cameron with his badly gelled hair, reading a book with some kids in a school who could not give less of a Tory’s arse everywhere. The world is infested with this disease of obsession with things that don’t really matter.
Three weeks ago I embraced my ever evolving inner hippie and deleted the Instagram, Facebook and Twitter apps off my phone. And it has changed me.
I started by deleting Twitter months ago. I don’t even know why. A self preservation motivated thought from the heart I suppose. And it only struck me after deleting it that every time I felt something, my fingers itched to tweet it. Think about positive and negative reinforcement. If we just got served diet pepsi instead of diet coke, declaring our day crap as ever, and we choose to verbalise this thought via Twitter, we’re only reinforcing it. I know the same could be argued with positive emotion but here’s the thing. Why can’t we un-learn the habit of shoving all our thought into 140 characters and instead learn to think it, feel it, and then let it go? Now that I’ve detoxed completely from Twitter, I actually feel great. And when I go on it… I realise what a time waster it is all over again, and divert my attention to something more useful.
I then got rid of Facebook and Instagram both at once. Facebook was always a time waste anyway. I have said previously about energies being contagious. The idea that when you’re surrounded by people with positive energies, you end up absorbing the same vibes and bettering yourself without even knowing it. The same can be said for things. When I listened to the feeling at the bottom of my chest every time I scrolled though Facebook, the overwhelming emotion was simply ‘drained’. To put it simply… everything on there these days tends to be a load of shit. And I’m not gaining anything from scrolling through it. And I haven’t taken myself off there because I realise what a vital source of communication it is, but I’ve truly lost all desire for it to be anything more than that. For those of you who’ve known me for a few years, you’ll know what a big deal this is because I could probably work for MI5 with my stalking skills.
Instagram was the killer. My name is Gowri and I am an Instagramoholic. Or I was. I find myself scrolling through it as a time pass more than anything and just waiting for it to refresh but now… I don’t even really care. I’ll probably get it back one day but right now I’m enjoying the Instaholiday so much that I’m in no rush to download it again.
The advantages of this detox are innumerable. Slowly but surely, I have lost my focus on my perception of a world I’m not even a part of and that world’s perception of me. Instead I’ve focused so much more on myself and the people around me. I don’t need to take my phone out at every occasion to snapchat this or Instagram that. I get to just soak it in and enjoy it.
Our addiction to social media is out of pure habit. When you sit back and think about it- we’ve gained very little from it that will make us nicer, more intelligent, and most importantly, happier people.
So here’s the moral of the story. The tree has fallen in the forest, whether there is anyone around to hear it or not. And as long as it has fallen, what are we gaining by watching it fall? Listening to it fall? Discussing the ins and outs of how it fell? The world where we didn’t care so much about what everyone behind their screens thought existed not so many years ago. I don’t think we’re taking any steps backwards by bringing a little of that world back. In fact, I think it’s a thoroughly progressive movement for the benefit of us all. We all need a space to find ourselves and escape from the craze of the world we live in. But that space is not found in social media. It can be found in music, reading, dancing, meditating, writing, singing, laughing and just being. If you find yourself reading this and thinking ‘yes, THAT IS ME and I want that cleanse!’, then I could not urge it more. If you’re reading this and going ‘Well, I need Instagram so I can…’ – babe, you’re in denial. You’re so much better off without. This will open your eyes. And remember, you’re not stripping social media away from your life… it’s just no longer going to be your life.
So go on. Hold and hover over those apps and click the little ‘x’ in the corner.
I dare you.
Love Gowri xxxxxxx
I am glad you feel so. We lived in a world without fb, snapchat, Instagram etc. We could happily sit and chat with our friends and family without getting distracted. The more people realise that, the more happier they will be.
Wow …already on life ….after Twitter ,Instagram and Facebook,I think as a youth you are on the path to cyber nirvana, much in the same way Buddha realised that “Desire was the root of all sorrow:” ….may be through you society ,will realise that mankind’s insatiable desire to be heard and approved is the root of the present shallow sorrow of participating in something good only with an intent to show off to others. People have started enjoying for others and not participating for the sheer experience of it.
Very meaninful thoughts ,keep penning them down,I would love to see them regularly.
Sreekumar Pilai.( Balu).
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Incredibly kind and thoughtful comment from you, I really appreciate it. I could not phrase it better- the greater the detachment is that you generate, the less desire to please others exists and therefore the happier one becomes, free of the need to be accepted by others and open to one’s own self acceptance. Please continue to indulge me with your thoughts on my writing both positive and constructive!
Another great read gowri…realizing that i may just enjoy all the posts on this channel!! Cheers 😀