Something interesting is happening in our world since the advent of social media, and I want to bring it to your attention. In the distant past, cultures bloomed in isolated pockets that were scattered across the globe. And you know what culture is; a system of ideals and ideas held by a group of people. It is in a certain sense the schema of group mind or collective consciousness. Groups that were insulated from each other by long stretches of land and water are now bridged physically by quick transportation and, in cyberspace, by the internet. Thanks to advances in science and technology, you can travel the globe in hours.
As such, the social media – borne by lightning fast internet – allows you to communicate with someone on another continent as quickly as you would if they were face to face. This communication grid has implications that are far-reaching and will literally change everything.
Let us use a practical example. If a person somehow believes that epilepsy can be cured by ingesting large amounts of salt water and he is surrounded by people who believe the same, this becomes an isolated, insulated “pocket of stupidity” (pardon me) if he/they are cut off from the rest of the world. But imagine that such a person/community has access to Facebook. The dude comes on the social media one day and openly speaks about this wonderful cure. Chai! We all know what would happen to him. He’d get called out, advised, corrected and even shamed or insulted for his “stupidity”. Resistance on his part would only multiply the disparagement. His community members would rally to his defence and a full scale cyber war would break out. Posts will get reported, and people unfriended and blocked. These violent clashes are simply a consequence of the existence of a nascent cyberspace – a place where ideas hitherto sequestered get poured into an intercontinental melting pot. Birds of a feather find themselves and flock together under the banner of common ideologies. Alliances are forged and the battle lines are drawn. Ideas fight and claw at each other for supremacy and then interesting possibilities emerge.
Since we are all linked as one giant brain, there now exists the possibility of a blending of ideals and values that will result in a somewhat unicultural society as opposed to a multicultural one, in the long term. The frequent clashes on Facebook could be compared to the vigorous reaction of an acid-base mixture. The turbulence is immediate and is as intense as the juxtaposed dissimilarity, only ending in a new state of equilibrium called neutralization. Cyber war in my opinion is how the collective human mind interacts with and eventually coalesces with different aspects of itself. I think these interactions we have on Facebook and other social media will influence everything, from fashion to government policies in the nearest future. (I believe this is already happening).
What then is the benefit of this insight? If we understand what is going on, only then can we align ourselves properly within this global system that is apparently trying to achieve a new equilibrium as determined by small to great upheavals that are occurring within it. This is the reason why the brightest among us must continually seed the group mind with the brilliant ideas and wholesome perspectives via social media; otherwise, we will be overrun by “the stupid”. By all means, jump into the fray. Make all the noise you can. Bring with you your wisdom and your idiocy. Lend your voice with passion to this mad mixture of cognitions that boils over on a daily basis. And above all, don’t take it personally. Remember that people bring the truest and perhaps the worst version of themselves to the social media. Good luck to those of you who seek validation from such a crowd. Shielded from face-to-face confrontations by distance, a bright screen and a keypad, people unleash a self that is as disinhibited and reckless as they can dare.
But this is alright, because when people bring their truest selves to the village square for the party, only then would we achieve a more thorough and honest mix.
“What is on your mind?” Facebook asks us every morning. It’s an invitation for you to expose the contents of your mind, both sensible and nonsensical. How will the stupidity that is interred beneath the platform be eradicated if it is not first exposed? But don’t overestimate your importance. You are merely a tiny speck in a gigantic process driven by the zeitgeist of the time, which dwarfs you in more ways than you can imagine. You don’t even have to take it seriously, but the fact remains that the social media of today is the shape of our collective tomorrow.
Written by Manny