It’s been a beautiful morning today. One of the mornings you can’t help but enjoying your early walk with the doggies and maybe add another little bit to the usual round. It was one of the mornings you can’t help but looking up, watching the birds fly by (Cockatoos make such noise!) and enjoy the sunny morning.
And then I passed the train station.
It was busy, lots of guys in their suits, ready to go to work, standing there, waiting for their train to arrive. Students, ready for school, also waiting for the train to arrive. You would think that all of them would make the most of their time outside and look around a little bit. You would think that they would let their mind wander a little bit before having to engage in their daily routine.
But they didn’t. Or at least not in the way I would have expected people to do it.
Every single one of them looked down. It seems to become the new posture of the human race and I wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple of years our body would have adjusted to the weird shape we take on when looking down, focusing on the little device in our hand. Gone are the papers, the magazines, the books… It’s all about the device…
It was just so intense to see such a big group of people standing there more or less looking the same in their dark suits and staring down on their device.
And it made me feel a bit sad.
Over seem the times where we made new connections. Connections with strangers just because we were using the same train, at the same time, every day. Eventually you start talking.
Same with the kids on their way to school.
Instead of engaging they were standing there next to each other, not looking at each other but at their devices. Not talking. I wondered if they would notice if you’d swap out the person standing next to them just like piece on a board game. I doubt it. I’m pretty sure that they were so focused that they would not even have noticed it if one of them would have fainted.
I love my smartphone. I love my computer. I love the possibilities they provide you with, the way of communication we have thanks to this technology. It brings the world closer together but it also pulls us apart. As social as it seems and maybe was meant to be as lonely it makes us. Where did the interaction go?
I mean even if you sat on a train and you were focused on your book, it still provided a starting point for a conversation. “Do you like the book?”
Can you imagine tough asking someone if they like swiping on their phone?
While some use their device for work or maybe as a replacement for a book or a newspaper, most people play around with Facebook. They enter this virtual world, this fake world where everything is beautiful and everyone is happy. They put up their best pictures, tell the funniest stories and paint the most colorful and flawless picture of their lives. They create world that, although part of their real life, is not reality as such. It’s better, it’s bigger, it’s happier.
And I wonder if people who desperately paint such a happy picture on social media are really that happy or if they are really that unhappy? Does putting out all the best and most beautiful and “greenish grass ever reality” seriously make your life that good?
I know of friends with big challenges but if you look at their Facebook feed you’d think they are the most happiest people ever. I know of my struggle but you will not find anything about it on Facebook. Maybe a quote every now and then that resonates. But I would not put it out there. So I’m stuck too. I’m stuck in that cycle of only putting out the good and hiding the bad.
And so I wonder again, if we do not create an even deeper issue by this pretended happiness because where is the way out? How do you tell people that life is not as it seems when looking at the Facebook feed? How can you tell your friends that you feel you’re in a spiral of darkness while all you put out there and show them is light and color?
Because we assume. We look at things and assume. We look at the state a house is in and assume how it looks like on the inside. We flip through Facebook feeds and assume we know everything about someone. When reality strikes it will throw us off. But then when will we allow reality to strike? Will we at all?
How difficult is it to just admit that whatever you pretend to be on social media is not what or who you really are? How much pressure do we create for ourselves by simply follow the pack and create this happy place on a virtual platform just to be compliant?
And all those thoughts just because of a couple of people waiting for the train and checking their devices while I was walking my dogs…