Virtual anger and sadness
The Internet has developed my anger at anything. Online, I am always angry. Save for the time when I greet friends or acquaintances on their birthday, anger or rage is my default emotion as I engage the social media. This is not unique to me. There are more anger out there shared by others, screamed out for the world to hear or, at least, see. While I contend with Messenger and Facebook, other angrier individuals can tweet messages or exhibit more images than my otherwise more formal approach to virtual communications.
My generation relies on clear messages the way we write out formal essays or business communication. We are condemned to follow the protocols in human living as if going virtual is akin to being virtuous.
As I write this, I am enraged by the fact that there is no Internet connection available. I am so desperate I am thinking of who to pray for. I do not buy the cult built around that young Italian boy who is really more the patron saint for cool rubber shoes than for desperate measures. And yet disconnection means death.
In a world where people are not connected to social media, the facea-face dealings have more articulated mediations. Kin groups are nets that are able to catch frustrations; clustering according to age can soften people’s shoulders. Feelings of anger do not easily spill out venoms and spite. There is more caring for each other— or a more calculated pretense to show others things are alright.
To some, this gesture of always being accommodating may be hypocritical. To some, however, the question is why do we need to discover always the motivations behind every act? Life is short and overthinking short-circuits the very life in which the real, more practical questions are prioritized over fraudulent meditative status.
Was the social media born to release all our pent-up anger or emotions? The anonymity and the massive population into virtual relationships are two reassuring elements that threaten to become the act of faith.
The possibilities online are infi
nite. The list of characters for us to assume is eternal.
Are you the relentless advocate or the insidious lover of Nature? Are you the political pundit issuing threats to corrupt politicians or the ponderous philosopher reciting quotes you wish you had asked your favorite student to remember by heart?
Presently, the online universe is saddled by complaints (mine included) about how the government has forsaken its citizens during a series of super storms. The serial complainers are numerous—this group is composed of those persons who take note of everything, has comments about any issue. This person believes s/ he has to be heard always. It is his/ her way of reminding the world out there that s/ he knows what is happening to our planet, in the big way, or to our small community, in the small way.
The multitudinous exposures online make us believe we are all enablers even if the technology that makes us momentary heroes are the same tools that can disable our deeds anytime.
We are all brave online. Our courage comes from the reality that online is not real. We can rant; we can shout; we can cry, but the technology allows us not to listen to the voice and not to feel the tears.
Thus, we light candles for the death of someone who we may never know at all. The availability of lovely, well-designed candles and wreaths makes it easy for us to join the world in a procession of sympathies without us leaving the comfort of our cozy, happy rooms. We jump on board the ship of affection not because we care but because we want to be visible to those who take online presence as an index of technical affluence and acumen.
Geography is blurred online. The person who is in touch every minute with the social ills of this country may be somewhere where poverty is a mere point to ponder while contemplating the allure of éclair over home-baked muffins. And who knows that the politics of an activist we have developed an ideological fondness for is in reality an academic exercise fueled by a tendency to enjoy ideas rather than fight for ideals.
The Internet, it is said, was created for the world to maintain its lines of communications among those who will survive a cruel nuclear war. Today, the Internet is the survivor of our own passion and highly evolved trait to hate each other for the sake of being charming and cute.
If there is something beneficent about online discourse, it is in the power of the virtual to make moving on achieve a non-territorial trait. Online, we move on. No one tarries. We see a problem, we post a solution. We read a remark that seems to address our weakness, we answer back with an insult. But we do not wait for responses. More remarks cascade; a thousand problems appear. But we move on, to the next world problem, to the next threat to world peace and our own contribution to a body of knowledge that does not really care if the universe is listening or asleep.
It is a lovely, silly world out there. The ideologue frothing at the mouth may, in the next post, be the music lover in tears over Chopin’s Ballade; the existential thinker despondent over hunger may be the soul delirious over his Colombian coffee. It is a hopeful world desiring its own hopelessness.