IT IS OVER (GET OVER IT)
It’s Over. I mean, we are over. We are over-consuming, over-watching, over-spending, over-thinking just as we over-everything. we just are over so it is over. Get over it.
Since this morning, I already charged my phone twice, sent and received over 20 e-mails, watched approximately 100 instagram stories, lost count of how many likes I gave to other users I follow and uploaded at least one instagram post.
Posting a picture on Instagram is a very paradoxical action. In a certain way it is a protection of your feeling, a glass wall that protects your true self from the outside world. But at the same time it is easy to consider it as an open window on your inside ego. The fact that when you like a publication a logotyped heart beats isn't a coincidence. Your likes make the heart of the publisher beats, and keeps him alive. In the end, does it matters if you "really" like a post or not? Just think about the feeling you have when someone you care about likes one of your post. So don’t be stingy and like.
But sharing love as a cost: the carbon footprint of using a mobile phone is 1250kg CO2e for a year’s usage at 1 hour per day. LOL . 125 million tonnes CO2e was the global mobile usage per year in 2010. To help you figure out what this represents, according to The Guardian, if you use your phone for about an hour each day, the total adds up are the equivalent of flying from London to New York, one way, in economy class. (By the way, you can now check how much time you spend on your phone in your settings. #justsaying).
Maybe we should do some social-media usage prevention, just as we do for drugs, but the real question is: what are we ruining our planet for? Watching videos, posting pictures, sharing experiences… In one word? Consumption. Basically we are consuming our own consumption. The American Dream became lame, welcome to the Capitalist Height.
For exemple, we buy clothes, then we shoot them, then we post them, then we share them, then we like them, comment them, and then throw them away. Sadly, this is the truth about everything: objects, people, knowledge, everything.
Our society has got us used to have a single usage of everything. This non-sense algorithm and likes expectations instagram has imposed on us, made us use our experience as a disposable content. We only seek for first time and very unique experiences. Once we’ve presented it to our audience, it gets scrolled away and totally forgotten in about 3 days (that’s the actual time your publication will be genuinely visible in instagram feeds) . It is a constant race for fresh content, unusual experiences and iconic moments we finally experience more for the others than we do for ourselves.
In the end, could we now assume that our deep selfishness brought us to consume our own identity?
Back in the good old days, finding who you were was a life-time mission. You needed to construct yourself day after day, year after year, trying to be someone better. It was something you were willing to do for yourself but mostly for your loved ones. Today it is just the starting point of a glory-seeker path that will lead to everyone’s schizophrenia and frustrating disillusion.
Instead of taking time to question and challenge the quest of true self-identity, we spend time adorning our pre-definite character, to make it look like what we’d like to be. The dilemma remains, though. Are you representing your true self through social media, or are you incarnating the role of the character you’d like the other to think you are? And mostly, are people seing you the way you’d like to present yourself, or do they understand the projection of your image on a different level than the one first intended? Perception plays a first role in the understanding of society as, following years of increase in promotion and advertising, we are now a society of images. We’ve been accustomed by society to have everything well presented, but we simultaneously and constantly seek for authenticity. Can authenticity be staged? Does our illegitimate need for aesthetics prevent us from finding what we’re desperately looking for?
Our parents spent so much time telling us how special and unique we are, and how we could achieve everything we’d like to achieve with hard work, that we ended up actually believing it. Sadly we still remain mortals. No matter how rich, talented, depressed or failed you are, you remain a single human. The actual hypocrisy of our society takes place in this constant will to help each other while making everything in our power to be better than the others. We use our sense of guilt as an instant gratification dispenser. Every single action you take serves a unique goal: make you feel better. Isn’t it the very reason we consume so much? Feeling better. But what’s the point of being the richest of the cemetery?
We spend hours convincing ourself that we are promised to a very destiny and, as self-opinion nowadays pass through the eyes of the audience, we end up giving all our energy to an audience that is, sadly, to busy taking care of themselves to see the help seeking issues that are hidden in every like, post and comment we give. Thank Instagram for mental illness.
Society is currently consuming life instead of living it. We want more and we want it now. Why? Because this infinite access to knowledge through the internet made us believe we can have whatever we want, anytime we want it. We behave like children who have been locked in a candy shop. We first run like headless chickens with no purpose but to taste all unknown flavors. Then we made up a list of favorite products, and we consume them without any limits. It doesn’t matter if you’ll run away of it, or if it is bad for you. You’ll just eat those candies until feeling sick, even if it means dying of an overdose. And here’s the fun part: once you’ve reached that point, you’ll start complaining, just as if all of this wasn’t your fault. So surely you weren’t the one locking yourself in the first place (or were you?), it is all fault of the society and the surrounding context that led you to finally be trapped in this situation. Is it? Surely, it is time to grow up, and assume the consequences of your actions. The fact you’ve been tempted doesn’t justify the way you behave.
The freedom of speech was once a global fight that pursued the will of allowing every each of us to have an opinion by ourself and be authorized to express it. This quest for freedom slowly but surely brought us to the infinite of internet, where we all feel it is ok (and normal!) to express ourself. Honestly that would have been quite fine, if we didn’t eventually ended up forgetting about consequences and basic politeness. The absence of physical altercation in our virtual discussions gave us some kind of God Complex in which, not only we think people actually care about our opinion, but we also convinced ourselves that our opinion is better than other’s. People who invented the internet were mostly curious and thirsty of knowledge. They were people willing to share. On another hand, people that don’t respect other’s opinions are mostly rude people that will eventually end up by themselves in a lonely existence. As we all evolve in perpetual physical loneliness, could we gently assume we all turned into rude anti-social people?
Everybody get so worried about being pretty. They should try to be pretty kind, pretty funny, pretty smart and eventually pretty strong. Because this is another generational problem caused by our ease to provide: we are weak.
Lucky us, we never faced a war, neither famine, nor any proper crisis. Millenials are basically the most spoiled generation of human’s History. Maybe this is why we are so concerned about equality and freedom issues. Knowledge is a privilege not everyone has access to. If you could choose, would you rather be poor but not knowing anything about the world’s problems or rich but aware of world’s worst misery?
People in need will always be more efficient when trying to get something. The thirst, the appetite, will allow you to push your boundaries. On another hand, you need to have time at your disposal to think about world problems or how to solve them, and nowadays time is the only currency we are all missing. We expect everything to be immediate. We stream movies and music we don’t even need to buy or download anymore, we have instant access to everything and anything through our laptops and smartphones, and yet we complain when there isn’t fiber-internet. What would be the most difficult thing about our current society to explain to a time-traveller from the past? Probably that we’ve got in our pocket a small black box giving us unlimited access to infinite knowledge, but that we use it to watch kittens videos.
The fact that we have access to everything made us believe we do not need to know it. Why would we need to learn anything? The day we’ll need an information we’ll just look for it. Before the internet, we had to memorize everything, constantly training our brain with memory games that will grow our knowledge day after day. Today we developed our mind with a proper ability to reflection, we created a new form of intelligence that is no more based on the amount of informations you know, but on you ability to connect all those infos to extract a final analyze of its conclusion. Maybe this is why our generation is so full of entrepreneurs. Polyvalence is one of the most useful assets of today’s society. But then, what’s the real value of knowledge? Is it better to focus on knowledge that’ll serve our process and actual situation, or should we try to get a knowledge as global as possible? Is it still relevant to have general knowledge? If not, that’d mean our whole school system is now obsolete and that we should adapt learning in consequence with the material we now have at our disposal.
Could this logic, in which there’s no point in owning something we can just have access anytime we want or need, apply in the physical world? Maybe what we should look forward isn’t possessing things, but just have a free access to it. That’d lead us to a world of sharing, instead of possessing, a world where you wouldn’t mind about not having, a world where if your neighbors have it, it means you have it too. I remember in all movies the hero eventually asked for sugar or milk to his neighbors. How many of us do that nowadays? Not that much, certainly. But that’s ok, who would do so, now that we have access to Amazon Prime Now, Deliveroo or Uber Eats? This instant access to possession led us to a consuming society of individuality where possession isn’t only a prove of personal career success anymore. What’s enjoyable in today’s possession is being the only one possessing it. This is why luxury industry never felt so good. This is why we run after limited editions and other rare items, queuing for hours just for a T-Shirt. This is why our society needs to change. Because selfishness possession is over. There’s no future in being the little spoiled brat uncle Sam taught us to be.
It’s Over. I mean, we are over. we were over-consuming, over-watching, over-spending, over-thinking and over-everything. we are now over it. Game over.”
for BAFP MAGAZINE