In one of my statements of purpose, I wrote about the importance of saying unalike things. It’s something that has been on my mind because I’m witnessing an inertia in our social circles. I have come to notice that people are increasingly becoming like each other and doing alike things. Now one would imagine that this is a good thing, however, I think nothing could be farther from the truth. Given how much has been said about the Internet closing on the gap between people, it’s done to death how little our interaction time and even space, is. In my observation, it is this closeness of proximity that’s causing us to ape each other more and more without us almost noticing it. I call it The Giant Virtual Hug.
It’s agonisingly placid how we’re talking the same things, doing the same things, and even thinking similarly. Just do a hobby test in a group of social media savvy people. There’s no dearth of people who all claim to “love travelling”. And there’s no insufficiency of those who “watch movies and listen to music”. We’ve now drawn up a laundry list of hobbies to choose from, and “being crazy” is the new “normal”. God help you if you’re not doing things people are doing and taking cruises like the film stars in their movies do. I find myself constantly bored by how the chatter is all the same. To me, thinking similarly is a detriment – to one’s society and moreover for one’s own nourishment. I find that that’s how a paucity of ideas comes about. And that’s how instead of making good our inheritance, we become the babbling “virtual society”, a copy of the “society” that we youngsters detest.
Now, it’s normal to think a certain way because the quotes on landscape pictures have taught you to think that way. It’s the norm to have the same debates over and over again because “having an opinion” is ballsy. It’s regular to put your best foot forward for social media is a party we go to every day. We’re comforting each other’s borrowed choices. We’re unconsciously conforming while vehemently disposing to say we don’t conform. We’re taking a lesser interest in things that happen next door because what’s on the other side is more fascinating.
I miss having a real conversation. I have realised that if you want to really communicate, you must use SMS. I miss reading something or meeting someone who’s not “unusual”, who is not a part of this Giant Virtual Hug brigade. I think one of the ways is to talk to a charming old man. He’s probably got more stories about doing something than those which start with, “When I went to XYZ country, I ate the most…” That’s just so cliché now. Not to dilute the merits of travelling across the oceans, but try to hear stories from the older generation, and you’ll see the difference.
Things might not be as abysmal. Of course the Internet’s great and we’re doing some path-breaking inventions. However, let’s face it, all the action is happening off-screen. That’s where it has always been.