A Gaggle of Cun….

It seems that barely a week is able to pass by without an underclass of social media users sharing images of something disgusting.  This week’s image in question, which incidentally, I am not going to share, is of a dead Syrian child lying on a beach.  It is an image so repugnant in its very idea, that there is absolutely no need for anyone to ever share it.  Unless they are morally obtuse, self-absorbed, shitbergs.

This social media underclass of keyboard warriors and online campaigners believe that they are making a difference.  In my own encounters with these feckless morons the most common defence that I have encountered is that they are, in fact, ‘raising awareness’.  In this particular case they might be right.  There might be someone, probably called George, that lives in a closet, has an allergy to news, and has only one friend in the entire universe responsible for shaping their world view.  Them.  In such cases it is indeed true they are raising awareness, raising awareness that George should likely try living a life in the real world.  However, putting George to one side for a moment, I cannot help but wonder what it is precisely that they are raising awareness of?  Death?  Their penchant for collecting pictures of dead children?  The fact that life is unfair?  That war is fatal?

The fact is, these click-baited mindless morons gain a sense of usefulness and righteousness from their actions.  They are honestly that stupid that they believe with a genuine conviction that sharing distressing images does something positive for the causes which they care about.  That all they are required to do is click one button, or touch one screen and life will become inordinately better.  It is self-delusion of a scale that in past centuries would have landed them inside mental asylums, and yet, today, is the true epoch of our modern age.

The saddest thing of all is that this sharing, caring, generation of internet zombies are, deep down, exactly the same as George.  They are all blithely unaware of the universe which lives outside of their own doorsteps.  It is as if the genius of Zuckerberg is that he has convinced us that we are regal in our kingdoms.  That we Gods of the touchscreens are able to shape the perceptions of others through tacit use of shock and awe.  That humanity is a community interconnected by screens.  It is not.  It is a living, breathing dying gaggle of gene machines.  Humanity cannot be saved by the power of want.  The force of intention does not put food in the bellies of refugees.  The awe of image cannot stop wars.  The divine power of the share button cannot stop people dying, no matter how many times you share a photograph of a dead child on a beach.

How Many Fingers Am I Holding Up?

On either side of your body, starting somewhere(hopefully) by your shoulders are a set of bones which you most likely know as your arms.  At the ends of your arms, are five pointy collections of bones which you will probably refer to as your fingers.  If you do, you are wrong.  Not wrong as in incorrect, but wrong is absolutely, unequivocally, unquestionably entirely NOT RIGHT.  It is quite possible that I have never ever met you.  It is likely that I have never even seen a photograph of  either one of your limbs.  Yet somehow, I can say with utter certainty that you have absolutely no idea about what is happening at the ends of either of your arms.

Picture the scene – it’s a crap day.  It is raining, the sky is greyer than a monk’s underpants.  It is lunchtime at a Primary School.  There are dozens of children filling a miserable concrete playground with enough kinetic energy to propel a small rodent to Saturn.  Two young boys get in an argument about a bench.  Although some other kids see parts of it, nobody sees all of it.  When the kids go home that evening the first boy tells his Mum that he was bullied.  The second boy tells his Dad that he got in a fight.  Nobody saw either boy strike the other, yet there were many witnesses to the first boy pushing the second.  Was it a fight?  Was it bullying?  Who was the winner?  Who was the victim?  How is possible that two small children that cannot possibly grasp the concept of advantageous lying  somehow do?  What if the first child is an only child?  What if the second child has two big brothers?  Who was right?  Who was wrong?

There are three conclusion we can draw from the tale of the two boys.  The first is that there is no such thing as a single truth.  The truth is pliable to the facts which weigh upon it.  The second is that our truth changes shape to accommodate any information we gain access to.  There isn’t such a thing as a certain truth, a pure truth that can never ever change.  The third is that a snapshot of a moment is so extremely misleading that only a fool would believe that they are privy to the whole story when they have only caught a glimpse of the truth.  If these conclusions are indeed valid why is it that so many people share images that have no other purpose than to shock, often alongside a hastily assembled slogan intended to draw a sense of guilt for a single event that took place within the myriad of  atrocities that are being carried out in the countless number of active war zones around the world?  Are we really that much more foolish online than in the real world?

There is an easy way to test this.  Extend your arms in front of you.  Now extend your fingers.  Now count them.  How many fingers are you holding up?  The answer dear friends, is eight.  And you can’t argue with that.  After all, it’s reality, isn’t it?