Maybe social media and technology isn't the problem, maybe it's us.
What exactly is Metaphysics? Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things. I want to specifically talk about the metaphysics of technology. These roots start in the pre-Socratic philosophy of ancient Greece. This is when the ideas of technê and logos started to form a single worldview. The word Technê can be translated as "craft", "art", or "craftsmanship", whereas the word Logos can be summed up as communication. These two short words are also intertwined with ology which means the "study of".
Whether we like it or not, we are in the day and age where technology is part of who we are. There are the people who choose to embrace this and people who choose not to, and this is okay. Even if it is unnatural it is a skin of our mind, or in better terms, the exteriorization of our nervous mind. Technology is a way we turn our mind inside out just like many different mediums, but this certain medium can be further shared unlike any other kind. It is symbiotic if used right. Living organisms invent things to better their lives, for survival, or for amusement and enjoyment. The tools that we make become extended appendages even though they aren't a part of our biological skin tissue, they are a part of our cognitive arsenal. Just like a bird and its nest or a spider and its web, we have created this. It is the extension of our mindedness.
The 'Instagram Generation' now experiences the present as an anticipated memory. We are a generation of individuals who believe that every moment needs to be experienced as something we can reflect upon; the experiencing self and the remembering self. We must be happy for the moment, but the moment is going to be gone in a literal flash and all we are going to have left is this filtered out photo. This is how we chose to remember the moment, but we are given a choice of how we want to remember that moment and that in itself is art. We get to articulate how that memory is going to be presented, and eventually these memories are like maps towards our past and I don't think it's a bad thing. I think it's interesting and it liberates the desire to become artists, it liberates the idea that anyone can decide how they want to remember things, at least were going to italicize the memory of it. The present is gone yes, but this is our way of dealing with it.
Through technology we are also gifted this idea of shared co-prescenece. A few questions you can ask yourself are, "Are physical and attentional proximity the same?", "Does the physical state of where we are have to correlate with where our mind is?" and, " Can you fully say who you're with is who your mind is in company of?" The notion of technology can bring co-presence, you can be on the other side of the world and still be in someones ear, you can share your thoughts from miles away without physically speaking. Attentional and physical proximity can now be on their own spectrums, we can engage our minds in places that we physically are not, we can learn things at our finger tips, and we can share product with people we may never meet.
Although there are many great things about the technologic world we live in, there are also many negative things that derive from it. A great example of this would be fomo, the fear of missing out. This anxiety is often aroused by posts seen on a social media website. Another case of fomo that we face everyday and many people don't even realize, happens while we are doing our everyday shopping, our every day routines, ect. Many of us have started to want the best choice possible because of what we are influenced by on these networks. It isn't necessarily wrong to want the best option to choose from, but it isn't always healthy to constantly want something better. Sometimes what we have isn't enough, and because of this, because we are given too much freedom with our cellphone wormholes, we have so much knowledge at our fingertips that the normal every day to day things cause stress. We are starting to like the idea of seeing what other people are doing and many of us let it influence our daily decisions. We are beginning to lack the ram to process the possibility, we experience angst of fomo.
We can choose to use this outlet to our benefit as the intended learning and sharing stream and we can choose how much of an affect on our feelings it can give us. The great thing about it is that we get to choose how much we allow it to control us. When people complain about how it's a negative thing - well it can be, but it's only negative because of the doing of people that you let yourself associate with, including your negative self. We don't have to let it consume all of our time, that is a choice. We do not have to let the idea of a staged or non-staged photo shoot depict how we feel about our bodies. We do not have to let the idea of a relationship that only shows its positive aspects depict how our personal relationships should go. We do not have to let ourselves be people who look at the items other people are choosing to show that they enjoy change the items we - ourselves, enjoy. We do not have to let negative viral things consume our thoughts, we can simply block that out by putting our phones down or not clicking on something we so obviously know isn't something good for us.
Taking a break from technology and social media can always be a great thing. Setting our phones down while we're out to coffee with our friends, reading a good book instead of reading our timelines, getting to know someone face to face rather than through an inbox or through a photo is still a very important thing that we need to remember to do. We just need to remember that even though these are great things, sharing a photo with a friend, a song you posted on band camp, a video you made, or something you wrote (as I am doing right now) can also be great things, and maybe it isn't technology that has wronged us, maybe some people are just using it for the wrong reasons. It doesn't have to be inaccurate or inauthentic, it is interpersonal but it is just another space for communication. It's not better or worse, except for the fact that it gets rid of the boarders of time, space, and distance, it allows us to expand the perimeters of what we can see. Although it may just be fragments of a situation, the bits and pieces - snippets of what they share, does give us a sort of taste of where they're at in their lives. This indictment of technology and social media should come from appreciation of transformation, evolution, the broken boundaries of geography, and how we communicate.