I met an old friend a few weeks back, and we took a walk through the memory lane. It was beautiful, and we had a great conversation about the past, how we used to be like in the old days, all the fun we had.
After getting deep into the conversation, he suddenly stopped. I could tell he was worried and had something to share but was feeling hesitant. So, I made it easy for him and asked him what was on his mind. He hesitated at first, as expected, but he opened up later on and said that he felt terrible.
I wanted to know what was bothering my friend and decided to dig deeper. Finally, he couldn’t keep it together and broke out.
It was the first time I saw him get emotional. I felt awful for not being able to understand what was causing him so much distress!
But crying made him lower his guard, and he shared what was the cause of his disturbed emotional state.
He said that he has been struggling with anxiety and depression and feels left behind whenever he looks at other friends from our group. I was concerned and asked him what caused him to feel that way, and his answer surprised me!
Now, we didn’t meet for a long time. And not just us, everyone in our group got busy with their respective lives and couldn’t plan a get-together!
The only way we got updates about each other was from digital mediums like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp!
I know its sad, but its the truth. We all get busy with our lives, and the only way we stay connected with our friends is through social media platforms!
So, my friend, he told me that whenever he went to the social media sites, he saw updates from other friends and looking at the progress that they have made, the jobs that they got, the places they visited and the life they live, made him feel bad about himself!
I talked to him and explained that most of the people on the social media platforms are sad within and have a void that they try to fill with these updates. Sure, they might be doing well in their lives, and I wish them all the luck in the world, but if they are honest to themselves and ask the question, “Am I really happy or am I just pretending to be happy?”, they would know the truth.
My friend left feeling better. I was the first person he shared this with, and I am glad he shared with a real person and not hundreds and thousands of virtual ones.
After he left, I began thinking of what has happened to all of us and reflected on my own behavior and these are the insights I discovered.
The void within
Happiness comes from a feeling of contentment, a feeling of satisfaction. The satisfaction that we have what we need to be happy, we have what we need to survive, and we don’t need more.
But the reality is that we live in a material oriented society where you are judged based on the things you own. You and your status in the society are built from the shiny stuff that you buy, and everyone is trying to outdo others.
This translates into an unsatisfied civilization that has a void that they are trying to fill with the useless things and pretend emotions.
Think about it, there was a time in the history of our civilization when the discoveries and inventions pushed our species to the next level. Now, the inventions and discoveries are consumer-oriented, and only a handful of people and companies strive to make a real difference.
I don’t deny the importance of consumerism, it is needed to make technologies more accessible. However, to be very honest, even though we have more advance technologies, companies focus on profits and postpone the use of more advance technologies for years, just to suck out as much money from the consumers as possible. Year after year, we are sold the same thing over and over again, not because we cannot invent or innovate fast but because we chose not to!
This is our reality, and we all are just trying to fill the void that we have created for ourselves!
The virtual seduction
With the boom of the internet, everyone had a chance to connect to the rest of the world. The advances in networking made our world connected.
However, the same technology that connected us also made us aloof from the real world. Suddenly everyone had a chance to reach out to the world, and a new virtual world was created where you could say anything about anyone.
The seduction of the virtual world made us addicted to our gadgets, and our devices were nothing but a gateway to the virtual world. It opened up doors that previously were not possible.
This technology could have been used to take the human species to the next level and make the world better place, but instead, all it did was make to the whole species addicted to the fake pleasures of the virtual world.
Think about it, how many of us can actually live unplugged without feeling withdrawal? Probably only a few!
The hunger for LIKES
The virtual world was built on the foundation of the great social media revolution! Yes, a revolution that ruined most of us and made the new generation, well ZOMBIES!
Zombies eat the brain, we eat LIKES!
We upload selfies with smiles that are fake and just made up for the photo, we pose to make the picture more appealing, for what, LIKES!
There has never been a time in the history of mankind when being PHOTOGENIC was considered significant! I don’t mean to degrade people taking photos, its okay, its memories, but a hundred pictures with pretended smiles are not considered memories, it shows the void that we carry with us.
This void has created a good appetite for likes in all of us!
‘Me too’ mentality
A few days back I was just browsing through my YouTube feed, and saw a video of the perfect morning routine. I was curious and clicked on the video, and I was shocked at the level people go to pretend that they have an ideal lifestyle just to make other people desire something that they don’t have.
These people have photoshoots and cinematic shoots of their routines where they pretend to have the perfect routine with a bunch of product placements. The reality is that they are just like you and me.
They struggle with the same problem, the “Me too” mentality. They saw a morning routine video that got thousands of views, and they wanted that so much that they created a video of their own where they pretended to have a perfect morning routine!
This is true for every kind of photos and videos shared on digital platforms. This is how the advertising is able to sell products. They make you feel that the product they are selling will make you more attractive, will work as a magnet for girls, will make you the most productive person on the planet!
They sell more stuff by leveraging our “Me too” mentality!
The reality is you need to remember that you are just a human, and remember that everything else is just tools. It’s up to you how you use these tools to be content and find the happiness that you seek so desperately!