There is a wave of change occurring, not only in technology, but in the way we deal with our humanity. Cults are not new and all cults prey upon an individual’s need to be recognized and to feel a sense of belonging, in other words, to be loved. What social media does today, cults of old have done since humans started interacting.
With an echo, we belong. We say hello and someone smiles or returns our greeting. We dance, sing, play an instrument and others join. We join in social groups, whether on the internet or elsewhere to be part of a society, part of a whole; and, in turn, the journey is not so lonely. Life, to be life, needs an echo. These echoes can create or destroy depending on the source, depending on the group. Which brings into play a question. What does it mean to live authentically?
Though it takes courage to run outside the boundaries of the so-called “norm” or the group you associate with, what is normal? Diversity in opinion, physical traits, lifestyles and so on define us as a species and so it should be a given to be who you are, to be authentic and comfortable with yourself. Beyond a simple admiration for others and their actions, cult-like devotion can rob one of their own identity and society loses by being deprived of that individual’s innate gifts, which might have been developed otherwise. A lack of self-esteem is at the heart of one who gives up their own “being” to the group.
Name your cult. There’s one for every one, and an endless list of differences that we could turn into another cult with countless followers, alienating “the other”, the one outside of our particular group. The problem manifests itself in destruction; and the narrowness of the band width cheats civilization of its greater potential.
Does the internet and social media alienate us or bring us closer together? Can one be real on the internet? To love, which is a verb, means to have one as a friend. Doesn’t friendship require being there in a physical sense, perhaps, listening, showing appreciation … laughing together, sharing a meal and a good conversation? How does one do this on the internet?
In a world of so-called friends that one may never meet, what becomes of our humanity when the masses define their lives by these kinds of contacts? What becomes of life? Will the echo we find be a set of characters on the screen, with no substance in a tangible world? The internet, relatively new, has changed our world dramatically in a short time; and the time to actually do and be and love has all been sacrificed to the pace of what is essentially “virtual reality”.
What will become of the human species in a virtual world? What kind of grounding will there be for the emotions that have driven us thus far? Emotions that are based on solid, real-time experiences can be the most reliable tools we have in our environment; and act as a litmus test when logic does not give us the answers, going deeper into the subconscious and acting quicker. Love may not be logical at times, but it is often the only way.
What will happen to humanity when hands-on experiences have become all too few and most of our time is relegated to the internet? What will we call love then? Will we take the time outside of these virtual environments to know each other and make compassion, in action, possible?