This climate of extremes is an ongoing theme that affects my writing and definitely dictates how we engage on the platforms that were built with the promise that we will be outlived by destructive tactics, keeping us socially combative, for better or worse.
Facebook is no longer my reality, and so that leaves Twitter and Instagram.
Technically I’m still annoyingly connected to Facebook through its acquisition of Instagram, and it’s only recently that I’ve begun to recognize the traits that inspired my disengagement from the platform that’s masterminded by the traitorous premise that everything and everyone is for sell to the highest bidder.
That includes data entries, that we nonchalantly deposit in response to quizzes that are slyly set up for our failure by those who traffic usernames and passwords in exchange for the combustion of democracies.
You would have to be a metallic humanoid if you’ve never contemplated what it would be like to permanently abandon the glorified connectors that were once deemed as the long-awaited salvation of the modern era, with capabilities that gratifyingly defied our highest expectations.
We’ve been enduring the unevenness of online socializing for a little over a decade, and there’s no doubt that if you round up the catalogue of assessments that have been amassed during that time period, that illustrate the graph of activities and consequences — the working side of our brain will strongly recommend an immediate dismissal of the tools that have caused more harm than good.
For most of us, it’s going to end up being an ethics issue, and the realization that it can’t just be about the uncontrollable appetite for attention, validation and the search for the answers to living our #bestlives.
People are dying out here, and the mass shootings, knife attacks and deposited bomb packages, are created in chat rooms through the landscape of social media.
These are the hostels for far-right conspiracy theorists, as they draft deadly literature that the President of the United States gladly distributes as evidence of the unrelenting approval that translates into empowering directives for White terrorists on the hunt.
After the horrors that befell El Paso, TX and Dayton OH, it was stunning to witness how much worse things can get when Twitter becomes the alighted battlefield, that displays warring fractions, punching away at an already weakened barrier that has been blown to bits by Trump’s landing page of offensiveness.
The fact that Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey is righteously arrogant about assuming the immense responsibility to ensure that nobody is above the law when it comes to respectful engagement that doesn’t willfully break the rules and policies, is the blatant proof of why we trusted too easily, too soon.
It’s so hard not to get caught up in the never-ending exercise of outsmarting and outwitting; especially when you have an attentive audience, waiting to elevate your status to viral superstar with the rewards of nagging notifications that eventually drive you bonkers.
I made the decision to stay off Twitter for an entire weekend because I wanted to track how my mood would process the abrupt break within that short period of abstinence.
The unfolding results were quite revealing to say the least.
Once the robotic moves for the early mornings that includes lazily checking my phone for the time, and then poking on the apps for overnight scoops was replaced with the mandated reflection of my real life status without the apparatus of numbing distractions — the lightness of being felt like the blessed evacuation from the womb of mind-hibernation.
It felt amazing to reclaim control of my thought process without the haziness of floating matter hovering for the attachment to the panels that hijack mood sensors.
The Buddhist morning prayer was recited with breaths of renewal, and when I jumped out of bed and proceeded with my normal routine, there was a marked purpose in my movements with an aura of excitement that was premature, but quite reassuring.
The audacity of being freed from the invisible chains of the falsehood of awareness, that’s encased in a regimen that develops from the need to be constantly plugged into the debris of interference, that inevitably holds you hostage in a bubble of dotted clutter, became the pride of emancipation.
But the compelling aspect of this experiment was the burst of energy that embraces a newly released prisoner, who gets to see the world through the lenses that are organically adapting to refocused surroundings, that hold a much deeper meaning compared to those who are accustomed to the navigation.
Of course our methods of engagement differ, depending on the individual’s specific tendencies. And I truly believe that social media exacerbated my debilitating battle with procrastination, which easily graduates to the next level of propelling me to helplessly drift away from assignments that demand absolute attention for timely completion.
The first afternoon of my forced banishment from Twitter was the sobering reveal of how much work I was able to get done, when the temptation to needlessly stray to the platform of my torment was overpowered by my disciplined quest to ignore the pangs of disorder.
It’s worth nothing that the mind is a sneaky manipulator, that becomes ravenous for similar items on the menu that are just as tasty.
And so it’s no wonder that during a brief break from an impressive stretch of writing, I found myself watching a suite of YouTube videos that featured a compelling subject; the Nigerian-American beauty influencer, Jackie Aina, who managed to almost draw me back into the very cyclone that I thought I had evaded.
That was a bit disconcerting when you consider how rarely I delve into the addictive world of YouTube superstars, but it’s obvious that those daily cravings tricked me into switching it up, under the guise of a refreshingly different view.
The rest of the day flowed really well, and even the breaking news of Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide in the correctional facility that failed to keep him alive, didn’t coerce me into linking back to my timeline.
There was a slight mishap when I opened up Twitter by mistake and quickly saw the number of notifications, but I rejected the desire to obey the commands that would lead to my failure.
By the time Sunday rolled around, I was already a different person than I was the day before.
This new lease on life was suiting me just fine, and while it felt good to be able to comfortably operate outside the confines of the devious mechanisms that tech geniuses devised for our mental imprisonment, there was a paralyzing fear that gripped my short-lived gratification, as it suddenly dawned on me that I was responding to the evidence of extended self-mutilation.
I knew that the main reason why I was able to successfully shut down activities on my preferred platform was partially due to the fact that it was a temporary fix, which made it bearable to undergo, without the panic of resetting brain cells for a longer and more painful reboot.
But when I really took the time to examine the recorded sheet of non-activity, the brutality of the results enveloped my paranoia, as I understood the masochistic wirings, that keep us wedded to the affairs that are most certainly not going to endow us with the fairytale ending.
It was a wave of disillusionment when the remaining hours of inactivity started to count down, and the excitement of returning to the standard default left me with an empty feeling.
The truth is that I wasn’t happier or sadder when I stayed off Twitter and Instagram, and that’s probably due to the robotic nature of being a part of something for so long, that the planned separation feels like a nice mini-vacay that’s needed from time to time.
I was expecting a life-altering epiphany that would manifest in ways that validate how and why bidding adieu to social media would be the noteworthy status that surpasses the cowardice of selling out.
Instead, I’ve been burdened with the stunning recap that confirms how we are all capable of disengaging without looking back, but choose to surrender to the clicks and likes because of allegiance to the symbols that represent the unreality of the reality that keeps us cosmically tethered.
We are bionically connected to the currency of logins, and the assembled particles that change shapes based on temperature, and those possibilities convince users of what can be amassed for those who stick around long enough to catch that virus.
So the conclusion is that we’ve all been tampered with, and so there’s no going back to recover the identification of who you were before that fateful day when you logged into the demise of your original setting.
We might as well remain in our current shells, and continue to the pay the price to institutions that aren’t yet done fucking with us.
In the meantime, I’m trying to get acquainted with the version of myself that separated to deliver the bad news.
It took me only two days to find her, and I’m planning to add more time away to discover what more of me is out there.
Maybe you should do the same…
Update: I have since stopped those sporadic browsing sessions in the middle of the night and early mornings, and the positive effects have been immediate. Discipline is key in this ongoing battle of human vs. machine. And so far, my restored vision is minimally optimistic.