Hope At A Time of Digital Reality

Hope. What does it mean for you? In a fast-paced world, there is always a need to keep up. Technology has made life easier and time go faster. Day after day, you check Facebook, email, Huffington, Clash of Clans, Instagram and other sites. You find yourself drifting through the digital world and missing out on life. Is it our way of holding on to hope?

When the things we have in front are far from reality, we try to cope up by escaping it. For those who feel powerless and out of control, they venture into online games. Introverts cope up with their weakness in socialising via various social media sites. While those who do not feel loved or significant find allies by posting photos or statuses that can get them attention. It is such a pity to see these things happening. They forget to realise that they can also do the same thing in life. As we get sucked into the worldwide web, we are slowly changing the real world. We break our relationships by building walls. We start to become mean and narcissistic thinking that the world owes us attention. We spread words that hurt and demean the spirit as a way of feeling better about ourselves. I am certain that most of us would prefer to live online. Although it is a beautiful breakthrough for humanity, we live too much in it that we end up empty beyond it. We put ourselves too much online that we deprive the real world of us. The influx of different ideas and thought from this media has affected us greatly but in a silent way. We become intolerant of imperfection, we criticise mistakes so quickly. We think relationships now can just be solved through chat or video messages. We want crave for connections yet we avoid getting disconnected from our social media. Family time now has transformed into a bunch of people staying in one area all looking down on their own phones. What has become of us?

Internet was created for hopes of making things better but at the rate that we are going, we are slowly dehumanizing ourselves and changing norms. Where likes and follows are all that matters. It seems that we have become more hopeless with ourselves. We put things about ourselves to feel accepted instead to celebrate diversity. We leave barely nothing to the imagination, just to get attention from strangers. We are far friendlier to strangers than to our own family. We try to escape what is and draft a false sense of normalcy. We would rather miss out on live moments just to see what the rest of the world is up to.

Why am I saying this? I too have fallen into this pit. A couple of years ago, you would see me posting about my feelings over Facebook. Venting out to people who have no clue on the situation to get sympathy. It was a passive aggressive way of solving things and it did not make me better. I tried meeting people through random sites but I would never say hello to people around me. I stayed in front of the pc day and night, wasting away hours to see places when I could have worked more to afford a flight to visit them for real. The first guy I liked was through a mobile compatibility game and the entire time he made me think that I really knew him. I felt like I really knew him well that I missed out on my college life. My friends called me “Ms. Monologue” at the university because I preferred talking to him on the phone than hanging out with my friends. I am lucky though that my real friends are still with me after we broke up but I have regretted all the moments I missed just because I disconnected from what was happening at the very instance. I randomly added people when I joined Ms. Cebu thinking that I needed to despite the fact that they only wanted association with a “beauty queen” and not interested in interacting with me. It became a numbers game. In the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, the Nazis assigned numbers to their prisoners. It is happening in this generation, people do not care about who others are and what they are about instead we care that they are among the likers. We do not ask about how they are feeling, how we are feeling always takes precedence. We post photos to get them to like us more. We succumb to this norm where if you do not have numbers, you are insignificant. What happened to us?

Last year, I visited China and when I got there I forgot that they restricted various websites. On the first day, I felt restless. Coming from the Philippines where checking Facebook is the first thing you do when you wake up, I felt like I did not belong to reality, that I did not exist when in reality, I did. I felt helpless and clueless. I then realised how reliant I have become. The world does not end when you do not have these websites. It took me about four days before I got comfortable with the fact that I only existed where I stood. With Instagram not working, I savoured each sight and flavour. Without Google, I figured out how to travel through subways. I talked to others instead of posting those thoughts online. I realised how little I time I spent for those people who never failed me. It felt like dying online and being born again into real life, liberated from the boxed virtual reality. It then hit me, how many of us are really living? We have invented so much distractions to keep us from doing something offline. You see a lot of people in restaurants looking down into their phones. Family time means being in the living room and just chatting online when they can talk face-to-face. How many digital zombies are out there who are putting life on hold for something that wouldn’t exist if electricity stopped? Think about it. Are you one of them?

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