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Now to talk about something that has been flooding my thoughts for awhile now, and makes me feel like a complete dick. Sentimentality on the internet.
First of all, this is probably going to be a string of consciousness sort of post, and I can’t possibly claim that any of it is valid.
There are so many things that we all look at all day that are completely designed to get an emotional response. This is not a new thing. Not even close. But, now, the internet — where everything that was fairly common before is now as prevalent as breathing and farts.
Videos, photos, reporting, etc. It’s becoming maddening for me, but most everyone I know — including, occasionally, myself — are taking part in this phenomenon of sharing and pushing onto others a feeling. Not a true idea, but just a feeling.
Let’s start small. Cat videos. They are adorable and make you feel great. Same goes for any other cute animals that do cute things. There can’t be any harm in these things right? Of course not. They are simply a wonderful outlet, and a catalyst for a quick moment of joy.
What about people saving animals? Rescuing baby animals from storm drains. That is heart warming, yes? But, what if you really stop and think about the different aspects of a simple video like that. Why did the person make the video? And, why exactly is everyone sharing it? Suddenly a caring act becomes a bit self serving. Not detrimentally so, but still self serving. Film me saving these kittens so I can post it online and get people to validate me. I have no doubt that they wanted to save the kittens, and that is wonderful…but nobody seems to want to do anything good these days without getting credit for it. Also, sharing these videos may seem like sharing a good deed with your family and friends, but it is also saying ‘look what I think is important, so that you know I am good’.
This video has 7.7 million views. That makes the youtuber over 100k in revenue through Google AdSense.
You have probably all also seen various other videos designed specifically to get you to feel the feels. Two people with completely different ideologies come together over a beer and find they like each other. A hundred people walk by a homeless person in need, when finally, one person takes the time. A man giving out money to everyone who wants it, and watching people get greedy about it, then the homeless man just wants 2 dollars for some food. And countless others. Awwwww.
But, the same stuff applies. Why did these videos get made? Are they really just trying to teach people about how to be good people, or do they want a million clicks on their page and videos because that is how they make a living? Those videos are heavily edited, with only the parts that get their sentiment across shown to you. In reality, those videos are not real. They are stealing your emotions away from you.
And look, I really don’t want to come off as an uncaring, skeptical jerk ass, but the more I see this stuff, the more I wonder. Are these things harmful to us?
Outlets are good for stress, frustrations, sadness, etc. Having an outlet to vent or even just forget for a bit is cathartic and necessary, but now we live in an age where there are far too many “outlets”. And I fear that the more we forget about what is bad in life, the more we don’t take care of that bad.
Half of most of our lives are lived in a digital space. The same that you and I are in right now. I would guess that there is an even bigger percentage of the amount of information that our brain takes in coming from the internet. So we veg out and escape. We hang on social media and watch what other people post. We watch youtube and look at memes. For hours. Every day. suddenly that cute cat video that made you smile is only a drop in the bucket of the amount of manufactured emotion that is handed to you freely.
We simply have too many ways to forget about what is important and in front of us. We don’t look at the different sides of issues, and we don’t question motivations behind what we deem as wholesome and good. And more and more, we don’t even want to begin talking about the bad things. Try to have any conversation at all with anyone about pedophilia and see how long it takes before you are shut down, or someone says ‘just shoot them’. Hell, even reading the word just now probably made you squirm. Truth is, there are a million facets to the topic of pedophilia, and it is perfectly valid to discuss those things — yet no one will. Just shoot them.
Behind every video that makes you feel good about humanity, is someone making a profit to make you feel that way, and in the rest of life, nothing has changed.
When a meme, video, or article lines up with your political views, you post them without much thought. Much of it, on both sides of any argument, is heavily skewed or completely false. There really is plenty of fake news, it just isn’t coming from mainstream media. When you see an article from anything that says something like, Real News, Fact checked news, The real deal, or anything like that….just turn away. When someone is telling the truth, they don’t have to preface it by saying they are telling the truth. Meanwhile, the most powerful man in the world lies directly to you every day, but it is so much easier to watch a funny guy on youtube than it is to deal with that shit.
I just wish that people could go back to finding the positivity and goodness in the real, and not the fabricated. And, when you think about this and wonder why watching a heartwarming video could hurt you, just imagine how often you do it, and all the people that forced that feeling on you by making things up. Seeing all those people walk by that homeless man isn’t showing you humanity, it is editing out all of the people that stopped, and just left in the best example for the end. Had they showed you everyone that stopped to help the guy, no one would watch it….because all it would be, is life, and we can live that any ol’ time.
Do you want what you feel to be dictated by someone else in your every day life?
So, why let someone do it to you on the internet?