Online social lives – the modern-day mental virus

They’d presumably be flirting and exhibiting wit and cool (the stuff that we are all finely-tuned to use as a basis for making friends and finding mates) using real voices, making real eye contact, and exhibiting real body language, all of these reciprocated by the other party using the same biological ensemble. People who are interesting in real-life would have a real meat-in-bricks-and-mortar social life peopled by an abundance of their fellow interesting friends. So when one comes across what looks like a “babe” online giving you the digital come-on, perhaps it may be prudent to think again and ask:

Would real babes be spending their time “hooking up” in cyberspace?

Apparently this is the obvious question that is obviously not that obvious to many people. Obviously. Perhaps in the same way that the HIV virus claims its victims by rendering their immune systems oblivious to even the most obvious malignant pathogens, a modern-day mental virus — an idea that now infects our minds — has taken hold of society today making us oblivious to what is really absurd and, in some cases, really unsafe:

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The idea that a bunch of disembodied digital artifacts that computationally exist in a social networking “platform” each given life by an operator on a computing device on the other side of a packet-switched data network might constitute one’s primary ecosystem for seeking social and sexual validation

Don't get it to the point where you find yourself in a Crying Game situation.

It is a virulent memetic virus that infects many of today’s “wired” minds who have been conditioned by media hype and cleverly-engineered screen candy that an online life is not to be missed out on. And it claims victims in various ways — from benign addiction (school or work deadlines missed due to excessive participation in time-wasting online chatter) to deadly pathological obssession (people pushed to murderous rampages or suicides).

Either way, the dopamine fix many people get from online interactions is literally sucking the biological life out of them. People no longer stop to smell real flowers or appreciate breaths of real air (well, at least in places where there are real flowers and real air worth breathing). As of now, no conclusive studies have yet been made evaluating the quality of a mind no longer capable of sustaining a “system idle” process for more than a minute. Back in the days when smart phones didn’t exist, standing in a queue or waiting for a bus forced one to read or switch their imagination faculties on to internally simulate the experience of being somewhere else (for that matter, is daydreaming a word that people are still familiar with?).

Do the minds of today’s wired folk still get that sort of a workout?

Perhaps. But consider how even modern devices like treadmills and other exercise machines are still no substitutes to doing a real run outdoors or playing ball (stuff done by real people since the Stone Age).

Today, there is no idle time in the sense that there is an abundance of devices with which to “engage” and “share”. But are minds truly engaged by these devices and applications? For that matter, is there much stuff of consequence really “shared” today? Consider the typical tweet fired off by the average bored smartphone-equipped soul: “Standing in line waiting for my latte”. Doesn’t sound like information with much of a payload of substance, doesn’t it? Nevertheless it’s been “shared” and someone out there reading it, in a sense, “engaged”. Mission accomplished.

4 Replies to “Online social lives – the modern-day mental virus”

  1. It’s how our technology is evolving; and you have to accept it. Like the invention of the light bulb, by Thomas Edison, a century ago…many candle-makers may had been anxious, because their ways of lives were being treathened and were being made obsolte…I welcome the new technologies, as a prelude in the opening of the science of mind-consciousness, and giving us all a level playing field in the acquisition of information…it also gives any ordinary person like me, to voice my opinion and share it, for the good of all…

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