We are no longer alone

Photograph made by Stanley Kubrick for a report on circuses. 1948.

The social networks arrived to pinch us the solitude. Each one of us, shows the Greatest Hits of our life hoping to like as many people as possible. Even when we are accompanied, while we feel the gentle wind in a park, a red and white checked tablecloth in the grass, raw ham and cheese sandwiches, your partner being beautiful naturally, like a flower, and your anxious hand is still attentive to that Like that won’t arrive.

Monks believe in solitude as a form of spiritual enlightenment. Psychology poses it as a possibility of self-discovery. “We are born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through love and friendship can we create the momentary illusion that we are not alone”. The phrase by Orson Welles, the director of the masterpiece Citizen Kane, was bleak until the arrival of social networks.

Solitude is a state of seclusion or isolation, i.e., lack of contact with people. It may stem from bad relationships, loss of loved ones, deliberate choice, infectious disease, mental disorders, neurological disorders or circumstances of employment or situation (see castaway). Short-term solitude is often valued as a time when one may work, think or rest without being disturbed. It may be desired for the sake of privacy.

Today, solitude is a piece of flesh that needs encouragement. An old tattooed widower, with nipples pierced, begging for one more lash. An anti-something typing in capital letters, becoming a free troll of any current topic just to belong. A fuchsia teenage girl exhibiting her duckface, taking the most suitable photo to show herself as a goddess without showing the mess of her room. A pedophile who opens a fake profile to weave his web and wait for the moment eating a slice of pizza of last Wednesday.

Of course in social networks there are also interesting people, nice pets, content and beauty. However, the line of what we like and do not like is thin. A few days ago, a coworker was urgently operated on a bowel obstruction. He had been feeling lousy for weeks and he almost died. They opened his belly like a toad. He will have a pirate scar because he is not one of those who care about the aesthetic, or anything. He must have eaten a bolon piston pin with mayonnaise. Upon awakening, his wife and daughter kissed him; his brother-in-law switched on the television low and then asked to have a photo taken with his cell phone. When he could, he uploaded that photo to Facebook. Most comments, in their own way, celebrated the good news that he was alive, but somebody was touched by his yellowish skin color, the respirator, the intravenous drugs and dirty tiles of the public hospital: “How can you post that? It was not necessary”.

It is not about being against what makes us feel accompanied, interesting or popular. Facebook saves. Zuckerberg is with us and with your spirit. We are no longer alone and the evolution of these pinches to our solitude is multiplied and expanded. It stimulates behaviors that we knew we had and made them addictive, such as masturbating the mouse wheel parading through the Amusement Park of Gossip. That perverse relationship between the curiosity and the gossip of this world. Being aware of the lives of others entertains with easy twists the visual system of the brain when you find out who he walks with, how he dresses and whether that blonde from high school (with whom you did not get to have sex) is bald or not.

The word gossip (chisme in spanish) comes from the Latin chismae, which means spark. This is not true, but we have never been so far from the truth. There were never so many layers of information before a supposed truth. It has never been so easy for a bluff to become believable. It has never been so easy to be happy. You just have to google Facebook you / Real you. Don’t get alarmed. We are suspicious and lying is one of the disguises of our imagination. Because, you know, humans need to outwit the real-life crap. If we don’t exaggerate we can get to die.//

There are more texts on how social networks and technology changed our life forever in my profile: @matguillan

Translation: Alejandra Blanes.