We live in Orwellian times. Threading moments of distractive destruction. A world where words have lost anchored meaning. Un-referenced. Re-invented and abused without contextual framing. Bleached etymology. Roots, uprooted. Debate smothered. Communication censored. Writers, consigned to the bonfire of political correctness and predatory marketing.
Civility shattered by hammers of righteousness leaving no space for thoughtful pauses or, the opening of alternate doors.
We live a language of emotionless Emojis. We are reduced to equal, comic unhappiness amid acronyms of fragmentary thoughts.
Swirling in the cyclone of social media we “connect” and “communicate” through satellite bytes of partial, incomplete sentences. We transparently sell every moment of our influenced, perfectly promoted lives. Everything tagged with an analytical algorithm. Directed not by truth, but by an invisible SEO equation. A Matrix of false worlds and words.
Writing is the physical act of tearing out our souls. Ripping them from the dark into the light. Of sharing and communicating the horrible and amazing state of being, human.
If we, as writers, sell our souls, delving into a Dante-like Hell of technological marketing feedback, what will echo back?
Ah, you say. It’s technology that is creating this dissonance. But, is it? Perhaps, similar to the “guns don’t kill people-people kill people” argument, this verbal manoeuvre is an apathetic scapegoat for the masses. A polarizing argument. As if one can only be “for” or, “against” something.
Communication is being smashed under the boulders of political correctness and personalized censorship. We have abolished the neutral ground for debatable words. In our verbal cartwheeling to avoid “dis-respectful” conversations, we cater to the destruction of any real connection. How can we be “transparent” if we can’t even talk to each other?
Technology is literally at our fingertips. A tap, a scroll, and a flick. All that power in our own, small hands. We gather “likes” and “followers” like children crying for candy. As if global strangers are needed to validate our lives and thoughts.
Where and when do we recognize our own responsibility for the chaos? We are partners in this macabre online dance. Spreading plagiarized content while seeking the Holy Grail of “going viral”. Becoming an “influencer”. The lens forever focused on the perfect “me” without bearing the blurred consequences of the social disease. Without recognizing the amazing possibilities embedded in the imperfection of our humanity.
How do we define what or who we are influencing? What are we actually selling? An endless river of moot words regurgitated and circulated not for communication but for, click responses.
As if the collection of numerical data is the total sum of our thoughts. With each casual tap, we are personally feeding the Pavlov Dogs of algorithm identifiers. With each smiley emoticon and thumbs-up, we push the madness on.
A Marketing Data Beast breeding voraciously through SERPs that we carelessly support. Comical emoticons weaponised, wielding an invisible power over the lives of strangers. We hide behind a smiley-faced icon because we have become afraid to say – “No”.
We live our daily lives in this internet matrix world. Buy our most intimate items on Amazon and share our private lives with strangers on Facebook. Forever mesmerized by the collection of numbers data. How many “friends” do we have. How many people I don’t actually know, “like” me? My virtually perfect life is confirmed even as I hold a gun to my head.
Are we seeking human connection or, simply a desire to go “viral”? Does reality matter anymore? Have our “true selves” become what we present and sell in a virtual marketplace? We buy the drug of popularity regardless of the cost to mind and spirit.
Perhaps this is all due to the growth of technologies in a super-connected world. A bejewelled monster we cannot resist. We must be “connected” or, left-behind. Acquiescent to the blaring demands of technology, we believe that we cannot control it or, “live” without it.
Is this true? No. Technology is merely a tool. It is not the essence of humanity. Technology is not the sole power that translates and ciphers our thoughts and actions. We each bear the individual and personal responsibility of our choices.
We can reclaim our effectiveness as critically thoughtful humans. Acknowledge our own potential to organize a world of concrete reality. We can support our local coffee shop and grocer by engaging with the human community around us. We can choose to directly influence the lives of Amazon employees by simply not buying another un-needed item from the company. Refuse to support a web of human misery based on “convenience”. We can resist inflammatory content by simply, ignoring it.
The ultimate internet revolutionary act of “doing nothing”. Not ‘liking” or, “disliking”. A kill shot to the algorithm serpent and a vote for life. We can do this. Still.
I am a writer. Each word, to me, is carefully constructed. Paragraphs unbound by technological paradigms. Layered with meaning and history. I do not confuse my writing with “market content”. I am not a product, I am a thought. Slipping between sentences, reaching into your mind and soul. Seeking the common human experience that connects us.
In a word, I am hope.