Following your heart’s desire and choosing emotion over logic are two concepts, so long advocated for that have landed on automatically reposted banners all over our social media feed. “Don’t be afraid”, “have courage”, “do you” are just a few according quotes, jumping out of my head at the moment, but it is in this era of emotional deification than not only have we trapped emotion into a frozen state but we have also given up on trying to emancipate it since it appears to be so unimpeded.
Practice ossifies impression into model and assumption into judgement. For about a decade now, we have been called to publish, republish and advertise ourselves through ever-expanding platforms. We have been called to communicate who we are, what we want, where we are going, as we have been asked to do many times before, in any social circumstance, just not to the extend that we do today. Every woken hour of our time, we are asked to basically explain ourselves to those we know and to others that we will never meet. And this is an irreversible fact of life so the goal of this article is not to advise against social media presence.
Digital self-marketing is an insuppressible and thriving trait of being in the developing world. It is now a given. So where do we find ourselves within this context? And more importantly, how do we stand emotionally in a field of so many posters, so many guidelines, so many formats and trends?
If we are to read the term in a literal manner, Facebook is a medium - a means of communicating, it is something that we use in order to be present within a context. It is something that we handle to achieve an aim. Through this spectrum, we manage Facebook in a similar way that we decide on what to wear to a party. The impression we are trying to make, the features we wish to focus on and the ones we are trying to undermine are some of the deciding factors on which article of clothing will be the most suitable one to join an occasion.
What happens though, when the matter to be presented is not fabric or flesh, when it is not something as tangible and graspable as physiology but when it is the unfathomable entirety of a human entity? Is Facebook then just a medium, or is the relationship between being and communicating it more bipolar, with one feeding and guiding the other?
With no desire to incriminate the digital podium, I am trying to focus on how we, users, have settled for less. I am claiming that through using online instruments in the way that we do, we have rendered human emotion and human opinion into something so quantifiable, into something so predictable and yes, boring, that we are gracefully and openly giving up on the majesty of our potential as buildings of nature.
I recently found myself in a discussion about relationships. A peer of mine was suggesting an innovative, or just different idea about a technique to keep the passion going. Most of the others rushed to disagree and so did I at the moment, until another person in the group, changed their stance and acknowledged some validity within the initial proposition. After this subsidence of arguing fortitude, I was left with a feeling of lack. I wasn’t sure if it was a lack of opinion, a lack of knowledge or a lack of decisiveness on the issue of debate but revisiting the question, I realised that what I was missing was energy and motivation to explore unchartered territories of cognition and emotion.
I rushed to disagree and to reproduce calculable and anticipated copies of what I should, of what I was expected to say. But then I asked myself, do I already know how and what I should feel about everything? Do I have an opinion and in this case, should I already have an opinion? I guess what I’m trying to ask is, are my feelings already decided upon and if so, how can they be free?
Imagine of finding yourself in the midst of a conundrum: you have encountered something new, something scary or unknown and you are not sure of how to act upon it. So you reach out. You ask a friend, you ask Google, you ask mainstream opinion and then you make up your mind. But within so much external checking, how can you ever tell if what you did in the end was what you wanted? With so many quotes and articles and blogs and with so much competition and fret to make it in a digital world with little secrets and restricted privacy, how much volition is there left for you to savour?
Communication of thoughts and feelings can be absolving and can -in fact- achieve social participation and inclusion. But what happens to our minds and to our souls when we have already heard what there is to be said online? When we already know what is and what will be online for us to consume? When we recruit younger and younger generations in the digital social network but we train them to adhere to the very same guidelines that we have before, in order to produce fathomable and digestible content?
To conclude this article, I believe that over-communication of feelings has inhibited our feeling sensors and our intuition. I believe that we are frozen within a misconception: we know that we are free to feel and explore and question and judge, we have all the resources to draw stimuli from but we stay put: we ruminate and we do not pursue. We produce only moderate amounts of ingenuity and we cash in on only specs of our power.
The old saying that “information is power” has been undermined to an extent that made it obsolete. In older times, people had no access to what was different so they used imagination to abridge all distances. When there were no opinions, they created them. Now, all we are asked to do is reproduce. Copy and paste. Post and repost. In an era were we can literally see what every single thing looks like, we have abandoned our right to envision.
So let’s create. Let’s unchain our emotions. And let’s build new opinions.