Do you remember what you were before they told you what to be? ‘They’ stands for red notifications, followers, likes, popular hashtags, tags, check-ins, viral videos, and their views. You are not surprised it doesn’t stand for people. For real physical presence with face to face, interaction can decisively influence your existence. If you haven’t already dictated it to yourself, on your own. Well, you haven’t and this doesn’t surprise you either. But it should. Actually, the most shocking thing is you lack actual individual presences to affect you because they are busy standing behind screens of all kinds, in order to decide what to be.

The sad truth behind all this absence of human presence around you, around them, is that it is considered normal. It has become the norm that leads our lives and we believe it is natural to smile more often to screens than to faces, to talk through devices instead of talking to ears, to accept praises through likes or comments instead of handshakes or encouraging gestures, to record voice messages instead of arranging a meeting to catch up and have a proper discussion, to feel pretty and acknowledged only when notifications exceed their usual number and eventually to expect all these things to help us determine how we feel. To let them define how fast our heartbeats, how smiley our faces become, how sad we may get, how far our reactions of anger or surprise can go, and even how we experience our emotions for others.

Nevertheless, the real shock derives from the fact that no one puts the blame on us. This naturality has put us in a lethargic, televised sleep and we continue to lead our lives like viral videos who end up being brighter than our future. To exonerate guilt even more we call this modern life and occasionally we force ourselves to adapt whether we embrace it or not since nobody wants to be an outcast. This modern life that it is, as a matter of fact, lived behind glass screens, where one after the next everything looks better through garish filters, and we’ve become patrons at the museum of our existence, in the end. But there seems no end to it at all, only an ongoing carnival of idiots on a show which is called ‘the easy way out’. The easy way out of life’s course since the harder the world gets the more we entrench behind devices and gadgets to handle it.

What we don’t say to each other but keep as a common secret is that our entrenching has made our lives hard in fact. The day we stopped going out to find other people and face them was the day that we gave to gadgets the right to build our characters. So, we ended up hungry for more while we were the ones that deprived them of ourselves in the first place. This hunger won’t be fulfilled until we bring all this televised mimicry of life to its actual proportions which are only as a pastime and a funny, trivial one. Excuses of being it the standard way of living in our generation’s time are only for the ones who get comfortable in confusing the damage it has done to us with the power of the Internet, which is a whole other field and frequently a constructive and useful one, despite its flaws or means of using.

Let’s allow ourselves not to be these ones. Let’s be those who still remember the incomparable, profound, and everlasting impact real face to face, cheek to cheek, eye to eye contact has on our formation, on our individuality, on our impact on the world. And let’s choose the hard way out of this.

The hard way to be what we want to be. There is no easy way to happiness and self-fulfillment after all. There will never be, no matter what this screen tells you.

Author: Pepi Naki

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