By M. R. Lewis
We, the people of the United States of America, each play a role in possibly the greatest test of our humanity since the Reconstruction period after the Civil War. Each and every one of us is a part of a historic moment that has the almighty potential to bring us together as united people, or to tear us apart: mother from child, sister from brother, partner from partner and person from person.
What makes now so historic? The Digital Age.
For countless hours, many of us scan millions of pixels packed so tightly that they clearly resemble our friends, families, trees, oceans and physical world. From these carefully placed pixels, we create emotion: happiness, sadness, envy, anger, excitement and so on. We have the world in front of us to grab onto, to feel with our real senses, yet we seem content processing the ever-changing order of pixels and replacing the physical world with a digital image.
The problem is not entirely the amount of time we spend with our digital devices. The problem is that we are distracting ourselves from what makes us human: our incredible ability to touch, feel and see like no other creature on Earth. The Internet is a major utensil in allowing us to do so.
It disciplines us all. It allows for us to hide behind pseudo-emotions. It allows us to ignore the mess of this society, which we all have a part in sustaining. It opens the door to a world where one may only see what he or she desires to see. If only but for a moment, it allows us to believe that uninterrupted bliss is possible. The internet strides beside us in our pursuit of “happiness” above all else.
When something bothers us, what is it exactly that forbids us from running out from in front of our screens and onto the sidewalk and physically yelling out from the pit of our fiery bellies? What causes us to be glued to our seats while reading stories of discrimination, starvation, degradation, isolation, infiltration, cheap persuasion and injustice in this great country?
We are not the brave men and women who entered this once foreign land with revolutionary ideas and shackles pressed upon them.
We write our letters in all caps when we want others to know that we are excited, so that they may think we are filled with enthusiasm, passion and an undying need to speak. We write “lol” when there is nothing to laugh at. We spend an hour texting when we could have finished the same conversation verbally in such little time.
Perhaps it is closer to the truth to say that we are losing all control of who we are. We are afraid to tear down this institution that seems to have always been existent. We have somehow forgotten that we, human beings, are what created this society and all of its evils. Therefore, it is our natural right and responsibility to create a better world.
In the real world, people are struggling to obtain the basic necessities of life. While we scroll down social media and corporate funded sites, people are being turned away from their right to the abundance of land, food and water on this planet. Human beings are being denied of their unalienable rights. Yet, we exchange the harsh reality, the truth, for our individual “happiness.”
Most importantly, the Internet is a distraction from who we are. We abandon our natural right, which in turn makes the creator a slave to his own creation. We are cowards. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves, yet we are beginning to feel absolutely nothing.
Naturally, I imagine there are those who say, “What about all the good that the Digital Age has done? Advancements in medicine, technology, etc.”
Naturally, I would say, “Grab your brothers and sisters hand-in-hand, plant your feet firmly into what is rightfully ours, open your mind and let your voice be heard, and together we can all create a world that we will be proud of.”