There’s a one way quality of communicating via the internet that’s really troubled me. I have always had a difficult time asking something of someone without seeing their face. I feel incredibly vulnerable sending things out there. And yet, that’s precisely what I do every time I share a post online…I am actually agreeing to make myself vulnerable without the real world reciprocation of face-to-face contact. And the more comfortable and casual I become with this behaviour, consequently, the more overwhelming real life contact can feel. It’s as if certain nervous system receptors are changing and growing more sensitive.
The absence of a person to directly commune with when sending an email, sending a text message, uploading a photograph, and sending it out there, if I am paying attention, has a truly unnerving quality about it. I’ve noticed this anxiety has then been reinforced as a personal problem, which denies the lack of human connection rapidly adopted by people, culture, and work today. For some reason writing a letter is different. There is more time and labor involved, and the exercise of trusting a system that will deliver the object to the other person. This I pay a fee to use. Communication devices employ fees, but are routed in such a way, things feel free-even when they truly are not. Each thing has a cost, but the costs are more obscured. The sense of disorientation rises.
Moreover, I encounter some people find it easier to coerce and demand something of someone, try to cut them off and get to the point faster, through the use of technological communication devices. It’s easier to ignore or not respond for some people. For me, I feel the need to always respond and therefore wear myself out. I feel so easily accessible and so desiring to share, love, help, any way I can, that I neglect my own needs entirely.
The futility of things seems ever present. What is the point of externalising my own thoughts? Catharsis is certainly part of it. For there have been birthed a widely accepted cultural phenomena about a certain way of being. That mindlessness, emptying out, zen, increasingly popularized, exercised, and preached in such a way as to be a non-religion but truly one of the more dogmatic aspects of popular culture. A friend said to the email group we are working in, people are choking on popular culture. How precise. Succinct. True.
Not being popular doesn’t mean being radical or extreme. But I think it can mean to concern oneself less with what other people are thinking. If you feel the ability to make choices lost, I would like to extend the invitation to you, to drop out of the wave, fall back into a quieter stream of living. Concern yourself with your own thoughts. Allow them. Let go of the ideas and beliefs about a perfect way of being. The pictures of life can become a tyranny, the striving, the aspirations, the goal setting, the if you just do this you will get this. That’s the key another friend pointed out to me. The culture of happiness, popularity, beauty, all of the things anyone could want in life is about wanting and getting. Getting what you want, by promoting it, buying it, consuming it, and putting it back out there.
There’s an alternative approach that seems like the same thing, but really is not. It’s something I fell into preaching about myself, trying to show people how awesome creating life the way you want it to be is. And that’s how easy a good intention can turn twisted-the excitement of wanting to share something of value without being asked to share it, of pushing. The popularity of pushing out there culture, recycles itself, reduces human expression, trims, grooms, wraps things up tidy.
One last thing about popular culture that’s occurred, is that a lot of people are out there promoting self-love as a solution. This couldn’t be further from truly helpful or useful activity. The truth of the matter is it is mostly ourselves that care most about what we think, and then our families and employers. All people, for the most part, want and need love. Self-love further works to set people as self-contained, self-encompassing, individuals. I understand the impulse to not want to feel needy or wanting when there is a sense of guilt involved in wanted. This guilt feeling is often attempted to be circumvented by the solution to love oneself. But this is a bit demotivating and also limiting. People want, and trying to alter this nature to try to outsmart the design of capitalism tends to produce reactive decisions instead of focusing on the things you care about, first and foremost and weighing what other people may or may not actually be thinking against or for reality.
When people are separated, and self-containing bubbles -singularities! there isn’t exchange. Life turns in on itself. Lonely. Isolated. Demented. I invite you to use a moment of time to look up the etymology of the word dementia. I did the other day when someone told me partner dancing has been scientifically shown to reduce dementia. And looking up the meaning of the word, and connecting that with the activity of dancing with another person really illuminated a quality about reality I’m trying to describe here with these words. I can’t do the work for you. Expecting things to be that easy is also part of the popular culture.
Thank you for sharing your time with these words. And if you find some value in these words and anything you are able to learn or make action from in the future, please consider donating the value of your choice: https://www.paypal.me/rachelwolfestudio