Okay, so the title is a bit salacious, but sincere never the less.
And yet, I am completely serious when I talk about the “Sneaky Beast” that is growing within and around us, and it’s keeping us from the kind of connection and contentedness that could only come from being fully present.
Although this may be especially challenging for those who are already struggling with socializing, anxiety or depression, it really applies to us all.
The figurative beast that I am referring to is media, all media in its full obsequious glory.
Not just social media. All forms of disconnected non living interaction.
Facebook, or Instagram, gaming, Tic-Toc, YouTube or even TV.
Remember, they were all designed to engage and entertain you, and that is exactly where the beast lies in wait.
We have become so comfortable and frankly, socially lazy that we spend our free time engaging in social situations that are just illusions.
We scroll Facebook or spend hours watching YouTube or Netflix, all in an attempt to fulfill a need to both be entertained and engaged.
Well what’s the harm in that?
The ‘harm’ is that Sneaky Beast that I mentioned at the onset of this article.
We have replaced the work and challenge of engaging in real time live human interactions for the easy, nonconfrontational and non-committal drooling dumfoundary of media.
As soon as I make that argument, someone will assuredly come back with, ‘I just use it to stay connected with friends and family’, or ‘I use it to learn’ or, and this is my personal favorite, ‘I use it to relax’.
I’m sorry, but I’m calling out those excuses.
We are most likely not using it.
It is using us!
We use it to disconnect.
We don’t want conflict, or accountability, or the work of engaging in intelligent or zealous dialog.
We want easy.
It’s human nature to do what’s easy. It’s the primitive preservation of energy that pushes us to do the undemanding and painless. We must conserve our mental energy at all cost! You never know when the next catastrophic crises will come and we will need our wits about us, so therefore, we must at all times, do the absolute least we can.
EXCEPT… In our 21st century of easy living and historically comparable nonexistent hardship, we are actually suffering as a result of that Beast, it has consumed our meaningful relationships, made us uneasy and awkward with deep and worthwhile conversations, and put us at odds with physical touch.
This Sneaky Beast is leading us down media paths of anger and indignation, of apathy and discord. We are being told that our way is the only way, that all those who disagree with us are, says the Sneaky Beast, “Morally corrupt, bad people.”
The Sneaky Beast says we must tolerate others instead of respecting them, and we must segregate ourselves from those who have had different experiences or views. And yet, we must include and accept everyone.
The uncertainty the Beast loads on us is confusing and disorienting, not to mention completely lacking in compassion and reason.
All of this is bad enough, but the Beast is not satisfied until our heads are filled with so much cynicism that we must put people into black and white, or left and right, all good or all bad categories. Never giving acknowledgement to the complexity that makes us a little of all those things.
What happens when you don’t have the ability to be flexible in your thinking, when you believe that all other people are just bad?
That is where hate walks in through the unlocked front door. The Beast has it way with us and keeps us pessimistic, demoralized and discouraged. Melancholy and despondency seeps in and hangs over us like a thick dense cloud influencing all of our thoughts and beliefs.
If we think, even for a moment that we are not feeding the beast every time we sit voiceless and taciturn in front of a screen, then we are evolutionarily doomed.
The masses are being led down a nonexistent primrose path of faux-enlightenment.
There is no real connection or relationship at the end of a Social Media post.
Sure, it’s fine to log on and plug in from time to time, but what about your family, your friends, or all the people you haven’t met yet? Don’t they need you to plug in with them? What about meeting for coffee, or taking a walk with someone you like, but haven’t connected with. You know… that person that you don’t have time for, if only you didn’t spend 45 minutes or more (most likely a lot more) each day connected to a cold unfeeling, unloving screen?
The Sneaky Beast has tricked us. It has made us a passive mass of drooling voyeurs’.
The rates of depression and anxiety are higher than ever, but, of course, it couldn’t be the Sneaky Beast. It must be the hopeless state of human existence.
Ahh, but there’s the rub!
Without deep connections, real human interaction and the hard work of functional and rewarding relationships, at all levels, we are truly hopeless.
I challenge you to stand up to the Beast of disconnection and cynicism that keeps us down.
Disconnect from media often, call someone, do something. Connect. Relate. Love. Do the work.
Let the Beast go.
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Hi! I’m Yvette Marie a Thought Wrangler (an intellectual nomad looking for understanding and hope in all things). I created this blog space because I believe Flexibility and Flow in Neurodiversity is not only possible, but necessary for living a full life of health and wellness.