steampunk heart

The Time of Coronavirus

Without social media we wouldn’t have been alone, but with ourselves.

The damage inflicted by social media is not only our lacking ability to maintain full relationships with those around us. It causes a serious damage to our relationship with ourselves – We have fallen in love with our filtered versions, and unavoidably, we are less tolerant of a stutter creeping up on us in the middle of an important meeting or beads of sweat that appear when we give a lecture. It’s not only that we love ourselves less – we also don’t invest time in our relationship with ourselves.

Once again we were lied to on TV by being told we are “alone.” There is a huge difference between being alone and being with ourselves. If we let go of the virtual human replicas and spend time with ourselves, we’d finally get the chance to look at the person we are and ask ourselves how we’re doing. Maybe we’d finally have a moment to think of an honest answer. Maybe we’d buy ourselves flowers. Many people would be surprised to find out how pleasant it could be for them to spend time in their own company.

The debate is old, but we finally got some answers.

Since television entered our lives, some 50 years ago, a fierce discussion has raged between its defenders and detractors. The arguments of both sides are known, but the dispute was always theoretical. The coronavirus crisis has expedited social processes, and it cannot be ruled out that we’ve been given a rare glimpse into the near future.

There’s quite a good chance that what we see from our windows today is the world through the lens of an app showing us how we’ll look in 10 years: News outlets broadcasting empty streets in 2030, with leading anchorwomen reporting that the government has passed a Basic Law on the Right to maintain a two-meter distance from each other. We’ll sanctify the freedom to be isolated in a room with a screen. After all, if spending time with our virtual and imaginary friends makes us feel so good, if life in isolation is cheaper, more convenient and efficient – why, when the day comes and the restrictions are lifted, shouldn’t we prefer staying barricaded in our homes?

No need to become an ascetic.

We are in a sadomasochistic relationship with the screens, when it’s clear who has the upper hand. Furthermore, different types of social media influence us differently, and using some of them in a moderate manner may benefit us and produce real important connections, including professional ones. We can certainly enjoy the many advantages of screens, like sharing life-saving medical information, but first we must shift the balance of power.

Original: HAARETZ – article by Lee Yaron