The Age of Loneliness

Do you know the feeling when you are ill, and you think that you know exactly what you have? 

And because you know what you have you don’t even go to the doctor, it will pass you think.

But it gets even worse with time and you have no choice to go to the doctor to get diagnosed. So you think what a waste of time, but still, you need to go so he can tell you the exact same thing that you think you know…

Finally, you go to the doctor and it’s fucked up…it’s far worse – and surprise surprise it’s something completely different than you thought. 

Well, it was the same thing with the people of the connected world, before their fatal depression struck sucking all the humanity out of their soul. 

Ok, let’s rewind. 

The illness I was talking about a second ago… let’s say it’s contagious and not only you’ve got it from others, but now you have it and you are giving it to others as well. It’s spreading like wildfire, like a plague it is.

Even some people who you love and hold dear are getting it from you, and if not from you than from the guy next door or the postman or whoever. They are changing fundamentally, becoming sick. Influenced. Like influenza but much more slow-rated, and very hard to diagnose.

Actually, let’s say, that the diagnosis hadn’t even appeared yet because this illness was hidden very very deeply, and it only decomposed your humanity, your sociability, your psyche very slowly and therefore it appeared normal for a while. It appeared normal because it was also happening to all the people around you, the majority at least.

At retrospect we can see that the age of loneliness started from the 1960s with the introduction of the seed of loneliness, which had to grow in the hearts of its ‘consumers’ yet, to contaminate them. The illness would spread like an endemic and after a while become epidemic.

The first non-scientific diagnosis paired with a virtual suicide dated from late 2018 and it sounds devastating: 

“We are lonely, even though we think that we aren’t. 

It’s not that we are lonely, it’s more like that we are alone, not realising it, not wanting to realise. 

We are surrounded by people who have sunk deeply into their phones and computers…their virtual life, sunk into the nothingness. 

We are staring into the abyss, looking at 1s and 0s, at information. Looking at images of other people while other people are looking back to ours, but with an endless gap between us. 

How many friends do we have? 1? 2? 500? 10.000? I don’t know, because the definition of ‘a friend’ became extremely flexible, undefinable. We create little windows into our lives and we let strangers look into it. We show them only what we want to show, only handpicked moments that meet all the ideally chosen criteria so they can get to know us like we would like to appear. We are trying to redefine ourselves into becoming our ideal self, but only in a virtual world because, in reality, we cannot.

The ideal of a lost reality. 

The handful of people who are next to us, do exactly the same thing like we do. We all create a perfect persona in a perfect world. 

How can a world where perfect moments are rare compete with a world where everything is perfect? It cannot.

Unfortunately, we live in a world far from perfect, so we found a way to hand pick all the perfect moments of this world just to store them into a created one, a perfect virtual world of our own. We show it then to the rest of the miserables, who try to do the same, creating a lie from both sides. Like in a social contract we promise each other: “I’ll believe in your lie if you believe in mine”. So we start believing in our own lies, the perfect little world like the cherry on top.

When time passes our perfect, virtual world grows, becomes filled with more and more moments, and more people get to know the perfect us, it becomes tempting and indispensable. It becomes us, it defines us. We start to merely exist in the real world with one purpose only: fill up the virtual one – so we can live in there, where everything is “perfect”. 

The couple of friends we have, who know more than our perfect side, are right next to us, but very absent, because they also have sunk into their own virtuality. The real moments with each other start to make place for the virtual ones, screens become faces, names become account-aliases.

We sit next to our friend with our perfect world right in our palms. We wake up next to our lovers and the first thing we do is visiting the perfect world, it’s an armlenght away.

We try to escape every moment that isn’t substantial in the real world, and everything not worth adding to our digital life isn’t substantial anymore. Every little thing that isn’t interesting enough in our real life we try to skip forward; we start to live from one tiny moment to another tiny moment and all the spaces inbetween those moments we try to replace with browsing the virtual one. 

We become a walking dead man with sporadic heart beats every now and then.

Boredom get’s filled with virtual excitement, with information. Something real gets replaced with something unreal. 

We forget that everything has its place and its function in life. Even though some things are not perfect nor interesting, nor are they fun or exciting, they are a part of our lives and form our personality. A lack of those things makes us distorted. We unlearn how to live, how to react to things like boredom, like pain; to the ordinary.

We unlearn to react to real situations filled with imperfect things.

We forget our real self, with all the ugly and imperfect sides. We lose the finesse of letting people know how we really live and how we really are. Thus we become lonely in the real world, trying to trick ourself that we are not.

We are different, we are alone and paradoxically we don’t let anyone near us. It can turn out to be imperfect.”

To be continued…

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