I’ve been wondering lately, what does it really mean according to nature?
There is a superbly grotesque episode in Black Mirror that depicts the perfect world of social validation, at its purest. The episode depicts the story of a girl living in this socially “impeccable” world and her struggle in trying to belong. “Belonging” is measured just like in Uber, you get reviews from your peers for every social interaction you have, it can be one up to 5 stars. This, obviously creates a world of falsehood in which every person only cares about the “person” she or he is in this social app.
This episode is obviously based on our current social reality in which our care goes directly into the person or identity that we believe we are and that is constantly reinforced or punished through social media. Directly measured through the number of likes or hearts we get on Instagram or Facebook. Manic.
I found this new social situation quite angering, to be honest. Our need for belonging is very extreme, just look at how much we care! And it is being exploited without the tiniest bit of shame.
Who are we when we are not so preoccupied with “striving to be the identity we have created for ourselves in social media”?
Is there anything real left in us living this way? What about every other aspect of our lives? Like when we wake up in the morning and see ourselves in the mirror, pretty ugly-looking? Or when we eat alone and clean our hands in our pants? Or when we are alone in our room, raining outside, thinking nostalgically about our existence here? Is it really so bad to try to be the person we strive to be in social media? I mean, at least we have an idea of what we should be and fight to attain it? Fake it til you make it? I don’t think so.
The problem with social media is that the identity created there is as fake as a player in a video game. A player in a video game reveal “just” a few things. Typically, the desirable attributes, like courage or handsomeness and charm. It is specially crafted to be “ideal”.
A human being is an extremely complex creature. We cry, we love, and we are sad about things that should make us happy. We are so much more complex than the simplistic identity we figure ourselves to be in social media, and we forget or want to forget it because of “likes and hearts”.
The person in social media feeds itself of social validation, therefore, the end and the goal of the identity created in social media is validation itself, everything else is used as a mean in obtaining this precious validation. Hence, any activity of the real life is used as a means for obtaining the validation our social persona needs to feed.
When you go out and eat, supposing you are living through this social facade, which I’m sure you are, at least sometimes, you are not really eating and conversing, you are thinking about the socially reinforced idea of how your food and hell, even your conversation should look like. You are forcing it. You are not letting the conversation or reality happen because you expect it to be some predetermined way. There is nothing original here, just an aspiring to do something, never actually doing something.
This is just the opposite of living according to nature. Nature does not aspire to be stuff as we do, nature just is stuff, and nature “is” magnificently.
This mountain is not bothering about how to be a mountain, it just is a mountain, just look at the good job it is doing.
How can you aspire to be a good carpenter if you are not doing the job, but instead thinking about how you look while being a carpenter? Do you guess you need equipment or a good carpenter “look” for a good selfie to be a good carpenter, no, what you need is to work on the wood and do it right.
The end of nature is the action itself, not how you look or what others think while doing it. The end in your life should be your every moment and yourself, not the non-existent facade we manufacture every moment. All must be accepted, flaws and boredom, joy and
sadness, real is always better than fake.
This practice is extremely hard because it is now something that we don’t do naturally. When we eat, when we chat, when we socialize, we are no longer there. Everything has become a means to the end of satisfying the social validation need of our fake personas.
We are in the age of anxiety and suicide because of this. But there is a way out, which is quite simple, and it is making our life the end, not the means.
Nature is constantly growing. Imitate it. Focus your attention on what you are doing, be it working, having a conversation, having fun, exercising or writing and let what may need to happen, happen. Do not focus on how you look, but how you do and are what you are doing.
Every moment and everything that you are making is infinitely more important than the need to post it. Learn this, and you’ll be free again.
“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” Marcus Aurelius
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