I have decided to have a social media cleanse. One morning this week I found myself scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and in a moment of clarity realised that I had no conscious clue how I had got there. I stopped, closed the app and went about my chores for the day seemingly productively distracted. Then, there I was again, flick-flick flicking with my index finger mindlessly watching the words and images flutter past. I, or rather some part of me, was looking for my next hit. My next taste of irrelevant information packaged and elegantly presented into handy bite-size morsels feeding what, I am not in the slightest bit sure.
In the middle of a gig on Tuesday night, with this relevation percolating within me, I was hit square between the eyes by the hopeful-hopeless lament of Grant Lee Phillips who had been moved to write his album Widdershins after certain events in the US of November 2016. The song that accosted me was not about social media rather the state of our world in general, the singer imploring and pleading with his audience to really (truly, please for the love of everyones gods) hear his words. The most subtle of protest songs wrapped in a sweet melody with the most bitter tasting lyrics. Kings of Catastrophes, tweeting and scrolling ourselves into a oblivion. I burst into tears and deleted those InstaTwitBook apps there and then.
It scared me deep into my bones how dependent I had become, and what scared me even more was I could not logically track why. It had all happened as if I was asleep, unconscious, subconscious actions where I had become reduced to my digits which began to operate on their own.
I long to be connected. Its a longing that goes right to the heart of my Pisces raison d’être. We Piscean types yearn for that moment of singularity where every being walking our precious Earth realises We are One, where there is no separation of self or action there is just the source of it all, just love. I, like the average person, have genuine and strong connections forged through the shared experience of schools, workplaces and interests that I hold close to my heart. In some ways, I have to acknowledge that social media has been good to me as there have been important friendships that have sprouted straight out of those newsfeeds, but of course, isn’t that what you would expect from an addictive substance, to draw you in with the intense targeting of your pleasure centre in whatever way possible.
Yet it is counter-intuitive to a Piscean to let those connections go, to eschew a medium that could very well build momentum towards that We are One moment. It almost feels, no, it does feel, traumatic. A form of grief, a loss, an empty space. In some kind of ritualistic recognition I have left the spaces empty on the screen of my phone previously occupied by those bright inticing buttons. Maybe it encourages me to stay with that grief and let it seep and flow through me rather than find some canny distraction. It does, however, feel, above all, necesssary to step away and with that step towards, whether that step moves me further into my writing or into some form of singular reflection, I do not yet know. But now, there is a newly released space in which to explore.
Oh I had such hope for social media to be the torch-bearer for our evolution to more brave, compassionate and considerate creatures. Maybe one day. Maybe this is because we are still akin to children playing with matches, too captivated by the bright, crackling flame to comprehend any danger. Yes maybe, maybe one day we will use those matches to light beacons of hope for each other, and help us all find a way out of the darkness.
Oh please let it be so.