Originally published 14 Mar 2019
What if these are the dark ages? What if technology has been hastening our separation and destruction instead of our evolution? What if social media is as addictive as morphine? What if we look back on these as “The Lost Years” after we wake up from the fog of the algorithms? What if we all decided to re-invest in the real world again en masse and sparked a Renaissance that brought people back together and healed the Earth at the same time? That’s nuts!!!!!! That would never happen….
Of course we could never leave social media — its tentacles are too tightly wound now. So, it’s best not to try to escape. Trying takes effort. And if it’s one thing corporate capitalism doesn’t want, it’s for you to have to make any effort. Just leave it all up to Amazon. You don’t even have to leave your couch for toilet paper anymore. Soon you won’t have to leave the couch to use it either. There’s plenty of technology being developed to keep you as useless as possible, I’m sure a self flushing toilet couch is just around the corner.
And yet, those of us who remember what a life of connection, individuality and complexity USED to feel like (Gen X, I’m specifically talking to you, the last generation allowed to fall out of trees), should see this as the “moment of truth” that it is. This is the moment when we look at our experience and decide if we keep going down this road or we make a new one. Has our time on social media been positive? What is true, real and beautiful anymore? Do you like this world that is being created? Is it possible that this cultural mess we are in is a byproduct of our collective unchecked addiction to social media? It’s time to weigh our actual experience. Has this path we’ve been on made us happier, richer, healthier or more successful?
I was addicted too, and it’s only because I have been off of it for 8 months that I can even see the epidemic for what it is (also, thanks to Douglas Rushkoff for stating the problems so eloquently in Team Human). The algorithms have taken on a life of their own and are modern demons wreaking havoc on our sleepy little village. Right now, I’m asking YOU to do a favor for humanity, treat social media like a food allergy. We are having these horrible reactions to what we’ve been ingesting, so take a fast or detox immediately. I suggest 3 months minimum to deal with the FOMO and the millions of ways your mind will make you crave the crack of swiping. Get off any app with ads and agendas. You’ll have to learn to re-engage with what I call “analog life” — the world of books, boredom, daydreams, art, poetry, nature, subtlety, nuance and synchronicity. It will take several months for your system to re-align to the cycles of nature and to try to find the actual flow of life again.
When you disengage, you will have to strengthen the animal instinct that we have all but lost — also known as intuition. Once you reconnect to yourself and to your intuitive ways of knowing, you will start to hunger for more connection with other humans. You’ll seek more connection from your friends, loved ones and in your community. You may be discouraged at first because it’s hard to find people that aren’t under the spell of the demon. Legions of others are still addicted, but be patient, and spread the word about how great it is to remember what matters most — connection.
Our connection muscles have atrophied. We are, quite literally, losing our ability to connect deeply with each other. This is the fork in the road. This is the moment when we take our power back from corporate capitalism. This is the moment we choose to stop drinking the Kool-aid that tells us we “can’t” live without it and decide for ourselves. If you want more out of life, then find out for yourself. Take a good long break, return to the real world, return to yourself, and see how it feels. I promise you, you won’t go back. And you’ll be hungry for others to join you in the real world. Just like I am.