Monday, April 12, 2010

Creating False Value: The Mark of Emptiness?

Mad Dogs and Solipsisms
Acrylic on Canvas, c 2009 Lynda Lehmann


This is not a "feel good" post. So if you are depressed today, wait to read it until you're feeling better, or skip it. I don't want to bring anybody down.

I have to say that in all the fascinating options for meeting people, communicating and interacting that are available to us on the web, we've maybe come to an impasse. When everybody is trying desperately to be seen, or heard, or branded, and to sell themselves as a CEO, SEO or expert in multiple facets of every kind of business, the frenzy overpowers any potential for quality or meaning. We're hearing too much about actions and reactions to and from our social networking sites on mainstream newscasts these days, leaving less time to report critical news from around the world. We proudly report numbers, in our love for having amassed vast quantities of essentially anonymous and dis-interested "followers." What does this prove? Are we in kindergarten? Enough is enough, already. Let's talk.

This is only my opinion. Just as we have too many TV channels to choose from, and nine out of ten of them offer trash: the cheapest, basest forms of titillation and over-stimulation in the name of entertainment--however violent or wanton and forever dwelling on the darkest depths of the human soul--we are inundated with sites promising us the best exposure and experience for this and that. I've been drawn to them as much as anybody else, I'm ashamed to admit. Where is our intellectual perspective?

Well, aside from becoming virtual Cyborgs (no pun intended) in our over-reliance on artificial intelligence, we are becoming even more distant from the ability to maintain internalized systems of moral values, taking it by rote instead, in heaping doses, from our respective churches, synagogues and morality gurus. You can't claim to be "religious" if you're a hater (of all who differ from you in their choices) or if you've forgotten the sounds of the human voice, or the cues of lowered eyes, a chuckle, or a facial tic. Or the aroma of blossoms in spring....

Come forward, people, and let's share our humanity instead of our projected, pre-packaged slick personas, fashioned in the need to point people toward our product or creed. Let's communicate honestly and openly about real issues, instead of using social media for their opiate value. Let's be real and forget about presenting ourselves as gurus and experts and financial whizzes, and just talk....

I had to vent tonight. These questions have been on my mind for awhile, and I think they might be questions worth pursuing. Is it because we are jaded by a cultural mindset that proclaims in so many various ways that "More is better?" Are we becoming more neurotic and compulsive in our need to connect, yet somehow defeating our need by being spread so thin? How do you feel about the effect social networking has had on you and the people you know? Do you think our need to create "false value" to sell ourselves, reflects personal insecurity and cultural and economic decline?

As with everything, balance and judgment are requisite. Any behavior, unchecked, can become pathological. For both individuals and societies. If you and your life are not really being enhanced by the quality of your interactions on the web, don't be afraid to back off! Sit down and have a good talk with yourself, for starters. And don't forget that YOU are your best friend!

All images and text c Lynda Lehmann. If you would like to view more of my art or make a purchase, please visit Lynda Lehmann Painting and Photography
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