Already Sick? Here’s How to Get MUCH Sicker: Social Media Will Hand Over Instructions on How to Die Fast
Thank God I don’t still have an eating disorder. Thank God I am no longer suicidal. Thank God in every possible way I ripped myself away from the mind-suck that is Facebook.
Thank God I don’t read Twitter feeds or have an Instagram account or much of anything else. Linked In, which is now sullied with human sewage, I only use rarely. I hate getting slimed.
Because if I were still in the evil throes of of that Terrible Triangle, social media would be only too gleeful to hand me a hundred ways to off myself.
I might well have done it, considering the depths to which I had dropped in my worst moments.
Given the delicate nature of our emotional vulnerability when we are already struggling with such internal demons, and I have by God had my share, the algorithm that is set to give us precisely what we seek — no matter how young, how tender and how needy we may be — social media has evolved to slither into our subconscious and keep us hooked.
Even if it means we off ourselves in the process.
This article in Wired (https://www.wired.com/story/when-algorithms-think-you-want-to-die/ points out where we have created the devil in the details for the Internet generation:
Whether it’s self-harm, misinformation, terrorist recruitment, or conspiracy, platforms do more than make this content easily found — in important ways they help amplify it.
I have written elsewhere on Medium about my concern that those of us who are struggling to win the pernicious battle with eating disorders get far too much reinforcement for our sickness. As someone who beat that battle eight years ago after a forty- year internal civil war, I know the creatures that lurk within. I know them well, their faces, their intent, and just how insidious the influences that undermine our efforts to get well.
I happen to have been blessed with an immensely strong mental constitution. That got me out of eating disorder prison without the help of a twelve-step program. My journey didn’t include a clinic or all the modern-day trappings of hangers-on and goody-two-shoes who make money off our misery (which is hardly an incentive to getting us well FAST). In this way I am supremely fortunate.
However there were times during that painful set of decades that the slightest push from the right source — say, a friendly suggestion “just to be helpful” about how to slice my wrists in the right direction for results rather than to simply get attention from those who loved me — could easily have resulted in a final solution.
Alone, isolated and full of self-loathing, if I’d had access to the Internet, it would have been all too easy to, in effect, rub the lamp for comfort. Which is what all too many of us do rather than reach out for real help from those closest to us.
I’d have gotten my wish, too.
What troubles me is that the Genie is out of the lamp. He is one evil bastard. We unleashed the power of Internet algorithms to give us what we seek. My guess is that the original designers didn’t exactly plan for the plethora of sick bastards who have insinuated themselves onto these platforms with their ever-so-helpful recommendations on how to release ourselves from our mortal coils (to say the least sexual predators, but I digress).
The assumption that everyone on social media like Twitter (please see Current Fuckwit-in-Chief) or YouTube is an emotionally competent, well-meaning person is as foolish as assuming that the Catholic Church really cares about its constituents. For example (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/10/opinion/sunday/youtube-politics-radical.html) A computer, the Internet, social media are simply delivery vehicles.
No matter how well intended Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or Twitch or anything else might have been in the beginning, they have all developed cancer. That cancer is inside us.
Just as there are rapists, liars and pedophiles in great numbers in the Catholic Church (and I am a recovering Catholic, thank you) and as we are discovering, in far too many other religions, the cloistered, free-speech-protected-for-now- rights of the Internet provide a wholesale party for the sickos among us. Free rein, if you will, for every radical — and I hardly limit that to jihadists, ladies and gentlemen — who walks the earth with a phone in hand. As in the old, now long forgotten saying, GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out.
Social media did little more than to, as the Wired article above states, amplify our collective sickness as a species. However, this is just the latest chapter in how increased amplification of human communication gives voice to the vicious. It began with language. Then the printing press, radio, television, the computer, the Internet. Each simply further expands the reach of our growing dissatisfaction with our lives as we reach farther out for answers.
The answers that interestingly, can only lie inside the soul, the soul that so many of us — as did I — run from screaming rather than face, and perhaps find peace.
I would specifically exclude Medium here when I speak of social media for these reasons: there is a self-correcting nature of this online community which goes a very long way towards engendering gracious communication. That makes this experience- at least for me- not only enlightening, but I am constantly learning from people I have grown to like and respect as a result of their courteous comments and interactions. Key word here: courteous.
Instagram underscores our woeful tendency to compare ourselves to perceived perfection. Twitter provides the perfect platform to screech our mindless yawp about what we don’t like about this, that and the other (again, please witness president Baby-Man). Facebook shoves shit in our faces and calls it connections, news and entertainment while picking our collective pockets, lying to us about what they’re doing and calling privacy just SO Twentieth Century. I could go on.
The sad fact is that social media further unleashed our demons, and they are legion. They inhabit me as well, and I have seen social media invite them out to wreak havoc.
Those are MY demons. It’s bloody well bad enough that I have to deal with them myself. I have no business inflicting their fangs on anyone else.
In our forever search for connection via this, that and the other BRAND NEW method, we miss connecting with ourselves. With others. Therein lies the healing. When we surround ourselves with love — love for ourselves, and those who love us — we are emotionally cocooned. Safe. Happier.
This takes hard work. A lifetime of it. And it never stops, because life never stops serving us shit sandwiches. The food of demons.
It’s a lot easier to skip the hard work, assume we’re worthless, and attend to that friendly voice telling us — not at ALL like Nike — to Just Do It.
Too many of us already are (https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/11/29/18118601/suicide-rate-highest-decades-life-expectancy).
I can’t speak for anyone else here, but after fighting for my very life with the monsters already installed in my inner world, I am no longer willing to allow anyone else’s monsters to infect me any more than I would inflict my monsters on anyone else.
You want to tell me to off myself? Tell me to my fucking face, you coward. Let’s see how that works out for you.
Meanwhile, I’m too busy living. It’s amazing how much more life- good life- we can have when we shut down our social media.